Language

2014 LACMA Art + Film Gala Honoring Barbara Kruger And Quentin Tarantino Presented By Gucci - Red Carpet

How ‘Not even a thing’ became a thing

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Last summer Kim Kardashian, who already had a daughter called North (surname West), announced that she was expecting a boy.…

Are we at peak ‘peak’ yet?

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Near Victoria Station in London they began to build a tower-block advertised as ‘The Peak’. I expected it to resemble…

The words The Spectator gave the world

9 January 2016 9:00 am

When the much missed Frank Johnson (1943–2006), once editor of The Spectator, wrote in 1980 that ‘the peculiar need for…

Mind your language . . . on commit

5 December 2015 9:00 am

My husband struck out with his stick at an advertisement in the street that said: ‘Commit to winter.’ He doesn’t…

(Photo: Getty)

Worry less about what to call Isis, and more about how to fight them

28 November 2015 9:00 am

We should worry less about what to call Isis, and more about how to fight them

(Photo: Getty)

The rise of the man bun, the Mancan and man boobs

28 November 2015 9:00 am

‘Ha, ha, ha,’ said my husband, as though he had learnt to laugh by reading Twitter. ‘Now they’ve got falsies.’ He…

Is ‘female’ still an insult?

14 November 2015 9:00 am

‘More deadly than the male,’ said my husband archly. He was knowingly quoting Kipling, though I don’t know why he…

How we ended up ‘cisgender’

7 November 2015 9:00 am

‘That’s not how you spell “system”,’ said my husband triumphantly, pointing with his whisky glass at a placard inveighing against…

HiRes

Barry Humphries’s diary: My war with ‘Wow!’

29 October 2015 9:00 am

I’m counting ‘Wows!’ Suddenly everyone is using this irritating expletive expressing incredulity, amazement and nothing at all. I’ve heard it…

Should we just stop using ‘fulsome’?

29 October 2015 9:00 am

It’s funny that two much misused words end in —some: fulsome and noisome. Noisome is the less often used at…

virtue

I invented ‘virtue signalling’. Now it’s taking over the world

10 October 2015 9:00 am

I invented the term ‘virtue signalling’ in The Spectator. Now it seems to be taking over the world

The weird truth about the word ‘normal’

10 October 2015 9:00 am

‘Is Nicky Morgan too “normal” to be the next prime minister?’ asked someone in the Daily Telegraph. That would make…

I was wrong to criticise using ‘critique’ as a verb

3 October 2015 8:00 am

I lost my husband on the way from Malabar. He is easily lost. We had been talking about the verb…

The remarkable discovery of Roger Fuckebythenavele

26 September 2015 8:00 am

A great discovery has been made by Dr Paul Booth, a fellow of Keele University. It is a 14th-century example…

Why would Jeremy Corbyn want to be credible when he can be incredible?

12 September 2015 9:00 am

In a wonderfully dry manual of theology on my husband’s bookshelves, written in Latin and printed in Naples in the…

Think ‘migrant’ is an insult? ‘Refugee’ can be too

5 September 2015 9:00 am

Al Jazeera, the Qatari broadcaster, is going to use refugee instead of migrant in its English output. ‘The umbrella term…

‘Asexual’ used to mean something even creepier than ‘Edward Heath’

22 August 2015 9:00 am

There was a time when my husband, who often addresses the television, would habitually react to Edward Heath’s appearance on…

GMB union annual conference - Dublin

Why Liz Kendall isn't close to qualifying as 'Taliban New Labour'

15 August 2015 9:00 am

Toxic virus or Taleban: it’s funny how the mild-mannered Liz Kendall has attracted for her Blairite associations the most violently…

Where ‘big ask’ came from, and why it still sounds barbaric

8 August 2015 9:00 am

‘That’s unnecessarily crude,’ said my husband, turning momentarily from the television and improving the shining minute by setting the whisky…

Matajudios

The Spanish village that thought it was called ‘Kill Jews’

11 July 2015 9:00 am

A village has changed its name because it seemed offensive. But I think the villagers were under a misapprehension. The…

(Photo: Getty)

How a prayer became business speak

4 July 2015 9:00 am

No doubt you, too, have had the feeling, upon glancing at an article in a paper picked up in a…

Brugge: best not to call it Bruges

Woe betide you if you try to speak French in Flanders

27 June 2015 9:00 am

Usually, one of the first indications that you’ve entered a bilingual country is that the road signs are in two…

(Photo: Getty)

In defence of Michael Gove’s grammar guide

27 June 2015 9:00 am

Few things are more likely to provoke the disapproval of the bien-pensant left than criticising someone’s grammar. The very idea…

ThinkstockPhotos-454377793

Elisa Segrave’s diary: A prison visit to a friend

20 June 2015 9:00 am

Off to prison to visit a writer friend, first jailed led some years ago for trying to find a hit…

Trigger warning: this is an article about the word ‘trigger’

13 June 2015 9:00 am

A notion is going about that, just as readers of film reviews receive spoiler alerts, so readers of anything should…