Like many of you, I spend an inordinate amount of my working time in meetings, and in those meetings there is invariably a lot of talk held in a quite artificial environment. This means that the people speaking can be in any sort of mood or state – stressed, agitated, happy, sad or sometimes just downright bored. It seems that any or all of these moods can have the effect of changing their command of spoken language to produce some great new words and phrases.
For some time now, I’ve been collating a list of the weirdest and wrong-est things that people say – often these come up when people are reaching for a new metaphor to illustrate their point, and at other times this is down to misunderstanding of the right words or phrase to use. To begin with the list grew slowly, but after sharing this list with a few colleagues who got on board with capturing these things for posterity, the list has grown and grown.
Here are a few of my favourites …
“It’s where theirs incringes on ours”
Now, what does “incringe” mean ? It sort of sounds like it’s a real word. Some kind of combination of “infringe”, “encroach” and perhaps even “impinge”. Anyway, the speaker used to use the word regularly and I think it gets the point across – in this case the context was two different mobile networks impacting and crossing over each other.
“And, without further adieu”
Where “adieu” is pronounced a-dew, rather than with a French accent (sounds more like a-dee-yur) – meaning effectively “goodbye” or specifically “go with god”
The phrase should actually be “Without further ado“, which pretty much means “without any more interruptions, let’s get on with it”.
I’ve heard this one in a few different variations, the best being at a conference
that I attended recently where myself and 1000 or so other punters I attended recently where 1000 or so other punters were treated by one of the speakers to this :
“Or as the French would say, without further adieu …”.
I’m pretty sure this wasn’t intended to be a joke.
“It’s a mute point”
I’ve heard this so many times its actually not funny anymore folks. The saying is “It’s a moot point”.
“moot point” has some legal origins, and it means that the point doesn’t need to be made or can’t be decided. In other words the point made can be effectively ignored.
“It was bought to my attention”
Other variants I’ve heard :
“he bought it to my attention”
“lots of things were bought up”
In all of the above cases it should be “brought up”
“It’s 2 solutions muffled into one”
I’m pretty sure that a muffler is a thing that makes something else quieter – like on a car, or keeps something warm as in a hand muffler. However in this case muffled means that two things were crudely merged together into one thing.
“Lets put a stick on the ground and move on”
This is a variation of the phrase “Let’s put a stake in the ground”, which still works even though I would argue for the stake. I’ve heard, and been told of, some great variations :
“My stick on the ground is one step before that”
“Let’s put a stake in the sand” which sounds like it’s been muffled together with “Let’s draw a line in the sand”.
“It’s another feather in our bow”
This is a muffling of “It’s a feather in our cap”, and “Add another string to your bow” – both of which mean a similar thing, that we’ve added a new capability, achievement or award.
A great variation on this that I heard was “Well, that’s another bow in your arrow” 🙂
Heard any others ? Let me know in your comments.