One of the things I love to hate is pseudo-political correctness gone mad, particularly when this is applied to perfectly clear English by petit bureaucrats. Makes me furious with frustration at the stupidity, and waste of resource$. This week’s example has been an exceptional effort by ACC – yes, they of the inaccessible web site.
The topic concerned? It’s no longer correct to say ‘near miss’. Oh no, although that is correct, the new word is ‘near hit’ – sorry, they use double speech marks for added authenticity – “near hit”.
What this means is when you’re in a red double decker bus that drives through a giant billboard showing Cliff Richards, and you (and the bus, and everyone else in the bus) crash to the bottom of a cliff – what do you say? Correct! You say, “Phew! That was close!” And when the bus explodes seconds later in a ball of flame, killing everyone, well that’s show biz.
Wake up, ACC. It’s a near miss. A miss that was near. Like a miss that was far (you remember, ‘Ha! Missed me by miles!’), but closer.
A near hit is a flesh wound.
Oxford English Dictionary records:
II. Special uses.
13. … near miss, (a) a shot that only just misses a target; also in extended use; (b) a situation in which a collision is narrowly avoided…
Opps – no subscription? Try the Compact Oxford instead. It’s free (yay!). Says this:
• noun 1 a narrowly avoided collision. 2 a bomb or shot that just misses its target.
Thinking more about the idiocy of ACC – outer space will have to become ‘outer earth’. Near space becomes ‘near earth’. Only PJ knows where middle earth is.
Clearly, while the real estate writers never let the truth stand in the way of good advert; the ACC writers clearly never feel the urge to let English stand in the way of their attempts to rewrite it.