Make these extinct

Rick Palkovic sends a few that were missed by previous contributors:

  • Literally: I’m hearing this used as an all-around intensifier,
    usually when the speaker means just its opposite: figuratively. I
    once heard political commentator say: “Congressional leaders
    literally held a gun to the President’s head!” Don’t we have
    laws against this sort of thing?
  • Et al: Everyone seems to be using this when they mean “etc.”
    They seem to think it sounds more intelligent. Better not to use either,
    of course, but use “et al.” for people; “etc.”
    for things.
  • World-class: A term favored by PR flacks when a more accurate
    description is usually “barely competent.”
  • Endangered species: When all the loggers in the Northwest
    lose their jobs, they just have to find other jobs — they aren’t
    dead, and neither are their relatives, much less the whole human race.
    Casual metaphoric use of this phrase trivializes the enormity of driving
    a species into extinction.
  • One thought on “Make these extinct

    1. ‘Falling on [your/ his /her /their] sword(s)” when used out of context (Ie. not referring to the historic Roman practice of ..well .. just that) is worse. That cliche is over-used and several historical era out of date!

      However, it does create sometimes comical and /or satisfying mental images especially when the resigning individual could concievably merit the literal rather than metaphorical punishment!

      I wonder if those calling for another individual to ‘fall on their sword’ realise they’re asking for their target to committ suicide rather than merely resign – and if this might be akin to the ‘Freudian slip?’ This also applies to “heads roll” in similar context. Are modern failed directors, officials, ministers and so forth ever physically beheaded? If only!

      Finally, when someone shoots him or herself, it isn’t necesarily fatal, for example people shoot “themsleves in the foot” frequently metaphorically and on occasion literally. “Turned the gun on himself” has aquired the meaning “suicide by gunshot” at least through inference and usage, rendering that the better alternative. “Shot himself dead / fatally shot himself” also works.