Wordwatch Towers

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

Excellent redefined

with 14 comments

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown captured d...
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Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister, has just sent out an email describing the election results as ‘excellent’ for the Labour party.

His party lost 91 seats, a new poll shows that two thirds of the electorate think that Mr Brown should have resigned the day after the election, and chaos reigns throughout our political system.

‘Excellent’, says the Oxford Dictionary of English, means ‘extremely good or outstanding’.

Wordwatch, for once, is lost for words.



Written by Wordwatch

09/05/2010 at 12:50 pm

14 Responses

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  1. Oh, someone will say it so it might as well be me – Loser redefined…


    09/05/2010 at 12:58 pm

  2. In American politics they call that
    “a non-answer answer”. You assert an opposite to the truth as if it were the truth. It’s shockingly effective on a large portion of the audience!

    Invisible Mikey

    09/05/2010 at 2:38 pm

    • Hi, Mikey — yes, you’re so right about how effective the use of such language can be. Emperor’s new clothes and all that…


      09/05/2010 at 3:00 pm

  3. He means, of course, “could have been far worse.”

    Michael Farrell

    09/05/2010 at 4:02 pm

    • …and ‘please let me stay in number 10’.


      09/05/2010 at 5:04 pm

  4. Given the events of today – or rather non-events – “indecisive” would have been a good word for today.



    10/05/2010 at 3:50 pm

    • Hi, Ron — you’re so right. The worst part of it is the obvious fact that Clegg, Brown and Cameron are so greedy for power at any cost. What is best for the country comes a very poor second in their calculations.


      10/05/2010 at 4:10 pm

  5. Ah – Gordon’s just quit… Six weeks and an election too late, in my view.


    10/05/2010 at 4:27 pm

  6. Well, almost – you can’t trust headline writers!


    10/05/2010 at 4:28 pm

    • Hubris leads to nemesis.


      10/05/2010 at 4:39 pm

  7. Hmm… I’d assumed he’d packed his bags and gotten (ha) his coat, but no – he’s talking about going by October.

    Stand not upon the order of your going – just clear off…


    10/05/2010 at 4:50 pm

    • Yes — sadly we now have to go through the bore-a-thon that will be the election for a new Labour party leader. Hmm — so many outstanding candidates to choose between.


      10/05/2010 at 5:11 pm

  8. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tracy Todd. Tracy Todd said: Politics always leaves us at a loss for words. RT @Wordwatch Excellent redefined « Wordwatch http://wp.me/pFKkP-uN […]

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