Thursday, 3 March 2011

Don't muck about with words

My working world is encompassed by words - individual words and how we use them, linking words to make phrases and how this appears to change the inherent meaning of the constituent words, how time and day-to-day usage change words. I like words, I enjoy using them. I like puns - witty plays on words; and similes and metaphors which are figures of speech - indeed perhaps 'figure of speech' is a metaphor in itself. But this blog is about idioms, or about one idiom in particular -

A narrow squeak - It's an interesting concept. How narrow must a squeak be before it can truly be said to be narrow? For purposes of comparison is there a regular or standard squeak and a broad squeak – and if so how can you identify them? Are we so accustomed to narrow squeaks that we can no longer recognise the regular and broad varieties?

Where can we find a narrow squeak? Are they scattered about like dead leaves or do we need to poke about in dark places. The phrase means "a disaster only just avoided" but if the disaster had been really terribly easily avoided would it then be a broad squeak, or perhaps a diminished squeak.

You see, nobody teaches you these things in school. They cram your head full of figures of speech and think they've done a good job. In reality they've left you ill prepared for the wider problems - you see, there we go again - that you'll encounter in life. Now I'm going to worry myself sick about where I can find one of those thin problems.

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