Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Fudge majeure

with 16 comments

The British Parliament and Big Ben
Image by ** Maurice ** via Flickr

We have a hung parliament in the UK following the general election. No one knows what’s going on or who’s supposed to be in charge. As one wit commented on BBC Radio 4:

We have a fudge majeure.

An excellent neologism that is both apt and funny. It is, of course, a play on ‘force majeure’, suggesting a political fudge that has arisen due to unforeseen circumstances (i.e. an electorate with a mind of its own — see also: ‘herding cats’).

In the UK, ‘force majeure’  is used in a legal context to mean ‘unforeseen circumstances preventing the fulfilment of a contract’.

‘Force majeure’ also means ‘irresistible compulsion or coercion’ or ‘superior strength’.

See Oxford Dictionaries on ‘force majeure’

More neologisms (newly coined words and phrases)


16 Responses

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  1. Morning Deborah,

    Not, I think, a neologism – just a spur-of-the-moment joke. Pretty good one, though…

    For “herding cats” see also “knitting fog” and “nailing jelly to the wall”.


    08/05/2010 at 7:10 am

    • Hi, Ron — I hope the weather is not as miserable where you are as it is here, but I suspect it probably is.

      I like ‘knitting fog’ very much — not heard that one before.


      08/05/2010 at 7:14 am

  2. Yep – sky like lead and pretty damn cold. Must crank up the heat so I can make bread later. I’ve had a starter festering in the fridge for a week – should be about right by now.


    08/05/2010 at 7:40 am

    • Wish I could make decent bread. I tried a breadmaker once, but they’re not much good.


      08/05/2010 at 8:10 am

  3. Making good bread by hand, despite some of the almost mysticism surrounding it, is pretty easy.

    Have a look at http://ronsrantsbreadblog.wordpress.com/

    It’s primarily aimed at people with ME/CFS, so there’s nothing there that even approaches hard work.

    You do need patience – bread takes its own time (about 4 hours, start to finish, with maybe 15 minutes actual work, mixing and kneading), and trying to rush it will ruin it. anything labelled fast or rapid is the enemy of good bread.

    By the way, there’s a name for the no-knead bread that’s becoming popular – cake!

    Sorry – I appear to have hi-jacked your thread…


    08/05/2010 at 8:46 am

    • Don’t apologise, Ron — I don’t mind at all! I tried making bread by hand years ago and seem to remember having to knead it for half a century, then leaving it to rest, then having to knead it again for a decade or two before it could be baked. Fifteen minutes actual work sounds good — I don’t mind the length of the process. I’ll take a look at your link — thanks for that. Hope your bread turned out well today.


      08/05/2010 at 5:47 pm

  4. Had my loaf on the go since 2.30 – ready to go in the oven now (white, with oats and try).

    I’ve got a very simple (and very good), basic white bread recipe, if you’d like a copy (it’s on the website, but I can’t recall where).

    10-15 minutes kneading, tops.



    08/05/2010 at 5:50 pm

    • Sounds good. Yes please — bung it across. I’m trying to think of a very clever way to link bread and grammar and am failing miserably. Something to do with using your loaf…??


      08/05/2010 at 5:58 pm

      • Pleeease – not using your loaf! Need the dough is a no-go area too.

        OK, I was halfway through typing it up for a friend when she decided she didn’t like bread anyway. Give me a little while to finish and I’ll post it – you can always take it out. Probably need reformatting though – we’ll see.


        08/05/2010 at 6:06 pm

        • Earning a crust?


          08/05/2010 at 6:09 pm

          • Oh damn – forgot that one.

            Btw, your comments are taking an age to get to me – this one arrived about 19.45. Yours on my blog are pretty much instantaneous.



            08/05/2010 at 6:56 pm

            • That’s strange. Gremlins at work. I’ve saved the recipe to my desktop. Thanks again.


              08/05/2010 at 7:04 pm

              • No problem. Some of it, towards the end, was cut and paste – if you find a discontinuity anywhere, let me know and I’ll fix it (I’ve read through it, but that doesn’t always help!).



                08/05/2010 at 7:09 pm

  5. By the way, you can knead bread too much, and it’ll just die on you.



    08/05/2010 at 5:51 pm

  6. OK – it’s way too long to post here, so I’ve created a temporary blog post here



    08/05/2010 at 6:40 pm

    • Thanks Ron — I was just reading it. I’ll print it off.


      08/05/2010 at 6:42 pm

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