Pet Peeves

We all have annoyances that set off a cringe. Some of these are individual and some are widely held. A 19th century term sums up these irritations. We can group them together and call them “pet peeves[1]”.

Adding ingredients can make a better bake. It’s the right ingredients, and the right proportions that make the bake work. If words are the ingredients there are some phrases that taste bad regardless.

In German the habit is to composite words. To take two ingredients and add them up to make something new. I think “Fernsehen” for Television is a wonderful example. But here both German and English do the same thing.

Adding words together to convey an idea or emphasis can backfire in producing ambiguous baloney and irritation.

One of my recent pet peeves is the overuse of “laser like focus.” It’s meaningless even though it tries to say that a person focus is heightened in some way. It’s a politician’s favourite.

Back to ingredients. It’s like, instead of saying: it’s a carrot, say it’s a carroty carrot. So, let’s keep one’s eye on the ball and make a mental note of the need for complete and utter focus. Excluding everything else is not only dangerous, but also a deception.

There’s a pollical combination of words that makes me cringe every time I hear it echoed. The two words are “world-beating.” It’s trying to capture the notion of unparalleled superiority. Putting an achievement, policy, or idea beyond comparison, which is clearly nonsense.

Another pet peeves, that’s come up this week is “technology agnostic.” I know what it means but it’s like taking vagueness and making it vaguer.

As the word get ever more complex so words like “sociotechnical” pop-up. In fact, lots of words get composited with tech or techno or technical. Some make sense and other are pure baloney.

There’s “tech enabled” where a thing is boosted by new technology. That’s not so bad. This then means there are such things as “enabling technologies” which is a leap of faith. Point being that all new technology can be enabling something or other.


[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/why-do-we-have-pet-peeves

Author: johnwvincent

Our man in Southern England

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