A GLOSSARY OF WEAPONISED* WORDS, BREXITSPEAK and THE TOXIC TERMINOLOGY OF POPULISM

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I have been collecting new and controversial language generated by the rise of conservative populism in the US and the UK, by pro- and anti-Trump sentiment in the US and by the divisions resulting from the UK’s Brexit vote. This is a work in progress: the preliminary list of terms as it stands is below. Soon I plan to offer detailed definitions and comments (for example, the second word in the list is my own invention, intended to describe a statement, act or policy showing effrontery, and itself a deliberate affront to a section of the population) and a ‘lexical’ categorisation (into ‘jargon’, ‘slang, ‘catchphrase’, cliché, for instance).

***Please do contact me with new examples, with comments and with criticism, which will be gratefully acknowledged and credited.***

Accelerationist

Affrontery

Airfix patriotism

Alpha

Alt-centre

Alt-right

Anglosphere

Annexationist

Antifa

Anywheres

Astroturfing

Attitudinarian

Australia-style deal

Autohagiography

Backstop

Bad actors

Based

Bed-wetting

Beta

Beyond satire

Birtherism

Bitterites

Black ops

The Blob

Blowback

Bot

Both-sidesism

Breadcrumbs

Brectum

Bregressive

Bregret(s)

Bremain

Brengland

Brexiles

Brexit dividend

Brexiteer

Brexit means Brexit

Brexit ultras

Brexmageddon

Brexmas

Brexodus

Brexpats

Brexshit

Brextension

BRINO

Britain deserves better

Bubble

Butthurt

Cakeism

Calling out

Canada plus plus plus

Cancel culture

Canzuk union

Centrist dad

Cherry-picking

Civics

Civility

Classist

Cliff-edge

Clown car

Clusterbùrach

Collective narcissism

Copaganda

Cosmopolitan

Corbynista

Corporatocracy

Coup

Courtier journalists

Crash out

Crowdstrike

Crybaby

Cuck

Culturalism

Cultural marxist

Culture warrior

Dark forces

Dead cat strategy

Death cult

Deepfake

Deep state

Defund

Delegitimizer

Deplorables

DEXEU

Disaster capitalism

Disinformation

Divorce bill

Dogpile

Dog-whistle

Double down

Doxxing

Drain the swamp

DREAMer

Dumpster fire

Echo-chamber

Economic nationalism

Economically inactive

Elite

Empty chair

Enablers

Enemies of the people

English exceptionalism

Ergo decedo

Establishment

Ethnics

Ethnonationalist

Ethno-state

Factuality

Fake news

Fall off a cliff

False flag operation

Fash-adjacent

Fashy

FBPE

Feminazi

Finger-sniffer

Firehosing

Flextension

Flooding the zone

Fractionate

Fratriarchy

Frictionless

Frit

FUD

Gammon

Gammonista

Get it done

Girly swot

Globalist

GNU

Guardianista

Hard Brexit

Hate goblin

Hatriot

Henry VIII powers

High-vis nazis

Hobbit

Homonationalism

Hopepunk

Hose it down

Hybrid threats

Identitarian

Illuminati

Incel

Indicative vote

Individual-1

Jambon jaunes

Jexodus

Kicking the can down the road

King baby

Kipper

Kipper moment

Kompromat

Leave means leave

Leftwaffe

Lentil-weaving

Level up

Lexit

Libertarian

Libtard

Limp-wristed

Little Englander

Londonistan

Low-energy

MAGA

Magic Grandpa

Magic money tree

Majoritarian

Man-baby

Mangina

Manosphere

Masculinist

Matrixed

Maybot

Meaningful vote

Mediaeval methods

Melt

Meninist

Metropolitan

Microaggression

Militarised nostalgia

Milkshake(d)

Momtifa

Moral grandstanding

MSM

Nanny state

Nativist

Necrocapitalism

Neglexit

Neon nazis

Neutrollization

No-deal

No-platforming

Normie

Nudgism

Offence archaeology

Optics

Oven-ready

Overton window

Palaeoconservative

Pearl-clutching

People’s vote

Pile on

Political correctness

Post-liberal

Postmodern

Post-truth

Project Fear

Prozac leadership

Put/stick that on the side of a bus

QAnon

Quitlings

Rabble

Race to the bottom

Red lines

Red pill

Red wall

Regrexit

Rejoiner

Re-leaver

Remainiacs

Remain plus

Remoanathon

Remoaner

Replacement theory

Reply deboosting

Resistance

Restorative nostalgia

Retconning

Revoker

Roll back

Rootless

Row back

Russian asset

Saboteur

Sadopopulism

Safe space

#ScumMedia

Sealioning

Shadow blocking

Shallowfake

Shill

Shire

Shitposting

Shitshow

Singapore-on-Thames

SJW social justice warrior

Skilling up

Skunked term**

Slave populace

Snowflake

Sockpuppet

Soft border

Soft Brexit

Somewheres

Sovereignty

Soy-boy

Spartan phalanx

Spiv

Sunlit uplands

Svengali

SWERF

Taking back control

Tankie

Targeted individual

Tender-age shelter

Terf

Terminability

Throw under the bus

Tick tock

Tigger

Tofu-eating

Tone deaf

Tone policing

Toxic positivity

Trexit

Tribal(ism)

Trickle-down pathology

Troll farm/factory

Truth-squadding

Tufton Street

Tu quoque

Unicorns

Unspin

Urban

Values voter

Vassal state

Verbal incontinence

Village idiot

Virtue-signalling

Walk back

War cabinet

Watch-list

Weaponised*

Wedge strategy

Whataboutery

White supremacist

Will of the people

Wokescold

Woketard

Woke warriors

Woke-washing

Workington man

Yoghurt-knitting

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I’m grateful especially to the many contacts on Twitter who have already contributed to this modest project, particularly Duncan Reynolds @duncanr2, and will credit them all by name/handle when a final version is published.

I’m also very grateful to Rob Booth and the Guardian who, in October 2019, wrote about the glossary and its topicality in increasingly conflicted times:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/05/brexitspeak-brexit-vocabulary-growing-too-fast-public-keep-up

And to Carlos Fresneda for this piece in El Mundo:

https://www.elmundo.es/internacional/2019/10/17/5da765cf21efa0eb618b4680.html

Artist Simon Roberts has kindly shared with me his artworks based on his own lexicon of Brexit language:

For readers, students, and researchers interested in or working with this topic here are some of the other articles and sources to consider…

In February 2017 The New European published its own very useful lexicon, from which I have drawn, gratefully but without permission :

https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/culture/the-new-lexicon-of-hate-a-disturbing-a-z-of-alt-right-language-1-4894833

And the BBC listed many of the technical – and some less technical – terms associated with Brexit earlier this year:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43470987

Last year Karl McDonald discussed the language used by Labour party leftists in the i newspaper:

https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/slugs-melts-inside-language-culture-corbynite-left/

And here’s Helen Lewis in the New Statesman on incivility in the UK:

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/08/how-britain-political-conversation-turned-toxic

And Philip Seargeant on ‘fake news’:

In November 2018 The Guardian published a useful ‘jargon-buster’ guide to the terms being used at this late stage of (or impasse in, if you prefer) UK-EU negotiations:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/19/brexit-phrasebook-a-guide-to-the-talks-key-terms

Here Renee DiResta describes the ongoing ‘Information War(s)’ of which the manipulation of language is one component:

I have only just come across this perceptive essay from 2017, by Otto English on his Pinprick blog, in which he coins the terms Ladybird libertarian and Ronseal academic:

Ladybird Libertarians: Dan Hannan, Paddington and the pernicious impact of 1970s children’s literature on Brexit thinking

In January 2019 James Tapper contributed this very perceptive assessment of Brexit metaphors:

And in March, more from the BBC:

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20190314-how-brexit-changed-the-english-language

In July 2019 the FT ran an interesting review of Boris Johnson’s press articles as precursors of ‘fake news’:

https://www.ft.com/content/ad141e8a-976d-11e9-9573-ee5cbb98ed36

And in October  of the same year David Shariatmadari and Veronika Koller considered Brexit metaphors:

*The progressive weaponisation of language is discussed here by Justin Strawhand:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/weaponized-language_b_1380788

**’Skunked terms’ are words or expressions undergoing a controversial change in meaning. Examples are ‘liberal’ and ‘libertarian’ which have transitioned from referring to leftist, progressive or centrist positions to denote neo-conservative or alt-right affiliations. Nearly two years on from my original post the useful designation ‘anglosphere’, describing English-speaking nations with shared cultural features, has been co-opted by far-right nativists in the UK to promote a supremacist ideology.

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As a further footnote, this from Twitter in November 2020 (thanks to Alan Pulverness) , a reminder that weaponised words may also be frivolous – even puerile:

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