Dread words from the advertising lexicon

Someone being pampered. It could only be worse if it were by candlelight in an indoor spa. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

My dislike of the word ‘pamper’ suddenly caught fire recently. Walking through an English seaside town, I saw sign after sign advertising ‘pamper packages’ of some sort. There was competition to see who could offer the most ludicrously overblown one; fourteen hours of pampering and spa treatments by candlelight as you’re fed Turkish Delight by captive apes wearing golden chains, each trained to whisper because you’re worth it and smile sympathetically, their grave simian eyes showing that they understand and value you—they don’t judge. Continue reading

Who are you calling meticulous?

beset by small birdsMeticulous is probably the most popular self-advertising word for editors and proofreaders; funny that it should have been questionable, and even disreputable, in its time. As recently as the 1990s Kingsley Amis wrote that he wouldn’t use the word at all.

It comes from the Latin meticulosus, meaning ‘beset by small fears’; ‘it is the word for the timid hare, or the man who is gibbering with fear’, Continue reading