Connect with us

Thai Life

The wonderful world of puffies

Published

 on 

PHUKET: In World War I they called it shell shock. In World War II they called it battle fatigue. Nowadays they call it post-traumatic stress disorder (PST).

Welcome to the wonderful world of puffies, where run-of-the mill words are puffed up into ornate phrases intended to impress, seduce, and deceive.

I call them puffies; others call them euphemisms – or Orwellisms, after George Orwell, who first wrote about them in his 1946 essay Politics and the English Language. Orwell noted that totalitarian regimes bombed defenseless villages and called it pacification, drove peasants from their land and called it transfer of population.

Puffies are a vital part of the growing body of “politically correct” language. I met my first one way back in 1960, as a young recruit in the US Army. We carried little folding shovels to dig foxholes with, and we were ordered to call them entrenching tools. But puffies have come a long way since the days of pacification and entrenching tools. Governments, intelligence agencies, and military establishments are addicted to them, but ordinary folk also succumb. Resumes (CVs) are a rich source. Don’t have a job? Call yourself a consultant. You’re an English teacher? Call yourself a catalyst/facilitator in the transfer of English-language communication skills.

Here’s a list of puffies – some well known, some less so – with their definitions:

  • Enhanced interrogation: Torture
  • Extraordinary rendition: Kidnapping somebody and whisking him off to another country to be tortured
  • Person of interest: Candidate for torture
  • Improvised explosive device (IED): Homemade bomb
  • Data survey ship: Spy ship
  • Terminate: Kill
  • Terminate with extreme prejudice: Kill in a very nasty way
  • Quantitative easing: Printing money
  • Orderly liquidation fund: Bailout fund
  • Financial allurement: Bribery
  • Networking: Cronyism
  • General time horizon: Deadline
  • Transition: To lose your job
  • Mentally problematic: Crazy
  • Issues with attachment: Homesickness
  • An adversarial relationship: Enmity
  • Price sensitive: Stingy
  • Creative class: The rich
  • Wealth creators: The filthy rich
  • Cardiac event: Heart attack
  • Mating event: Copulation
  • Tornadic event: Tornado

Note the popular word “event.” If a tornado is a tornadic event, is a hurricane a hurricanic event? Stay tuned, I’m sure they’re working on it.

Two widespread puff words, are of course, “system,” as in “weapons system,” and “device,” as in “mobile device.” How many times have you been in an airplane and heard the announcement “Please switch off your mobile devices”? What they mean is “Please turn off your electronic toys.”

I’m sure that the US Army realizes that the word “tool” is now outmoded, and makes its recruits call their little shovels entrenching devices – or possibly entrenching systems. I look forward to the day when bullets will be called lethal projectile devices and guns will be called lethal projectile propulsion systems.

Finally, the noblest puffy of them all, used in a verdict by a US judge: He has extreme personal deficits in the areas of honesty and integrity – translation – He’s a lying bastard.

It really is enough to make poor George weep.

Ye Olde Curmudgeon can be flamed c/o s.tsow@ymail.com, except when he’s trying to depuffify the language.

— Ye Olde Curmudgeon

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand37 mins ago

CCSA to consider extending Thailand tourist visa to 45 days | GMT

Visa16 hours ago

CCSA to consider extending Thailand tourist visa to 45 days

Bangkok16 hours ago

Man caught taking drugs inside a Bangkok police booth didn’t give a crap

Sponsored1 day ago

Enjoy a splashing time and immerse yourself in Thai Mythology in Andamanda Phuket

Thailand16 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Thailand no longer considers Covid “dangerous infectious disease” 

Crime16 hours ago

Wife says boss of Mountain B in Pattaya is ‘not a villain’

Crime17 hours ago

Policeman poses as Buddhist monk to trick drug dealers in central Thailand

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Travel17 hours ago

Stress-free travel with AXA Travel Insurance

Guides17 hours ago

Mother’s Day in Thailand 2022: 5 fun ways to pamper your mom

Thailand17 hours ago

Thai minister insists minimum wage increase is not electioneering

Bangkok18 hours ago

Swedish Embassy hailed for giving 6-month parental leave to Thai staff

Travel19 hours ago

Everything you need to know about the Bangkok Skytrain (BTS)

Environment19 hours ago

PM warns Thailand to brace itself for potential flooding

Travel20 hours ago

Watch Koh Samui’s magical sunset from these sunset bars

Thailand20 hours ago

Local hero predicts building collapse, saves countless lives in eastern Thailand

Phuket20 hours ago

9 year old boy kills a 7 year old girl with a police pistol in Phuket

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending