Brexit: My War on a Word

It sounds like the kind of thing you would expect to see lying between the Weetabix and the Shredded Wheat at your local supermarket, but the word ‘Brexit’ has become synonymous with life in the United Kingdom during 2016; a triumph for those media personnel who just love to amalgamate two innocent words and create the next evil neologism.

I have written before about the concepts of prescriptivism and descriptivism, and while I will always stress the importance of language evolution, words like ‘Brexit’ should have no place in our everyday speech. But sadly, we have long since reached the point of no return.

The regrettable outcome of the EU referendum back in June, and the subsequent news that the UK’s process of leaving the so-called common market will be gradual and long-term, has only increased its usage. From now until the moment Theresa May triggers article 50, we’ll only be fed with constant speculation over when that moment might be, or the progress of the complex negotiations that seem to be ever ongoing.

Does the UK deserve the best possible deal after making such a catastrophic decision to leave? That is a different article altogether, but top of the news billing almost every single night without fail, is more ‘Brexit’ coverage. And even when the breakaway from the EU is complete, the official date of ‘Brexit’ will become a fixed reference point in the distant future.

Every time I hear the word ‘Brexit’ uttered by young and old; well respected television news anchors and reporters who frankly should know better, I have an urge to silence them. It is tabloid nonsense, which has filtered its way into prominence.

Back in the 1990’s the channel tunnel was sometimes referred to as the ‘chunnel’, which thankfully never caught on. But ‘Brexit’ only goes to show how much of a grip those ghastly, trouble-stirring red tops have on our society, almost to the extent that we can’t think for ourselves anymore.

‘Brexit’ is now a nationwide phenomenon, but its sheer ubiquity amounts to a betrayal of our linguistic customs. This truly is the mangling and manipulation of the English language.

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