word play

In marketing, words are play things – like the gazillion lego strewn across my living room – and I get to play with them (and sometimes the lego) most every day.

Like lego, there are many pieces that don’t always fit. here are a few of those misfit pieces.

double entendre or double entente

I heard Nancy Grace use “double entendre” in one of her infuriating interviews and I got to thinking – is that really right? Double Entendre, literally translated means double hearing or listening. It’s double entente that means double meaning. So while it may be helpful to listen twice, it’s really a double entente you’re going for.

party gifts or parting gifts

As a kid, I always wondered. Do game show contestants who lose get party gifts or parting gifts? Either are a nice gesture. I still can’t be sure. You get gifts because you’re parting from the show – but it’s a party just to win something, isn’t it?

regardless or irregardless

Well, regardless of what you’re defending, please if you want to add some irr to it, chose irrespective. Everytime I hear someone use irregardless in an interview, I tumble off the train of thought.

speciality or specialty

Is speciality even a word? Or is it a pseudo fancy way of saying specialty? So just say that. Less is more.

on the wagon, off the wagon

Made famous, as many things are, by an episode of Seinfeld, I never know what means what, so I looked it up on phrases.org.uk – here’s the verdict.

Various language sites state that The “wagon” in “on the wagon” refers to a fixture of America’s past, the water wagon. Before roads were routinely paved, municipalities would dispatch horse-drawn water wagons to spray the streets in order to prevent the clouds of dust that traffic would otherwise cause. Anyone who had sworn abstinence from alcohol (and would presumably be drinking largely water from then on) was said to have “climbed aboard the water wagon,” later shortened to “on the wagon.”

and here I thought it was chuck wagon drivers and camp cooks who were drinking rum during the long journeys west. Shows you what I know.

on a deadline

and my favourite word to play with is deadline. Again, in marketing we play with these most every day. The actual meaning of which, it may interest you to know, is the line past which a prisoner can be shot dead. So if I seem a bit stressed next time our paths cross, don’t take it personal (heard that one before, eh) – i mean personally, I’m just avoiding some friendly fire. Speaking of which, there’s a whole new topic to consider – euphemisms –  the art of not saying what you really mean.  But, for now, it’s back to the yard.

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