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 first 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.**
Brexit means Brexit
Drain the swamp
Fall off a cliff
False flag operation
Leave means leave
Magic money tree
Put/stick that on the side of a bus
SJW social justice warrior
Taking back control
Throw under the bus
Will of the people
I’m grateful especially to the many contacts on Twitter who have already contributed to this modest project, and will credit them by name/handle when a final version is posted or published.
In February 2017 The New European published its own very useful lexicon, from which I have drawn, gratefully but without permission :
And the BBC listed many of the technical – and some less technical – terms associated with Brexit earlier this year:
Last year Karl McDonald discussed the language used by Labour party leftists in the i newspaper:
And here’s Helen Lewis in the New Statesman on incivility in the UK:
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:
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:
In January 2019 James Tapper contributed this very perceptive assessment of Brexit metaphors:
*’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.