Friday, July 26, 2013

Cockatoo-shaped landmass

Your attention is drawn again to the Guardian stylebook, specifically its entry under "Pov":

term coined by a Guardian journalist to depict laboured attempts to produce synonyms by writers seeking what Fowler called "elegant variation" (and Orwell "inelegant variation"), often descending into cliche or absurdity. Thus Dalí becomes "the moustachioed surrealist" and Ireland "the cockatoo-shaped landmass". Pov, incidentally, stands for "popular orange vegetable"  

Two questions:
1) What do you yell across the newsroom when you have a winner in the weekly competition? Is it a "povv," a "pove" or a "P-O-V"?
2) At risk (or in hope) of stirring another conversation among our UK colleagues, shurely shome lesser rank of nobility is in order for the anonymous "Guardian journalist" to whom this contribution is credited?

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Anonymous Ed Latham said...

I can confirm that it's P-O-V. As to who came up with the term, I'm still not sure – but that's all of a piece with mentions in dispatches generally, which tend to go along the lines of a shouted 'I don't know who wrote the eggcups headline, but well done'

1:58 PM, July 26, 2013  
Anonymous Ben Zimmer said...

Jamie Fahey, deputy production editor for the Guardian news desk (and formerly subeditor for the Liverpool Echo), takes credit for coining "Pov" here.

4:27 PM, July 26, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good work, Jamie. But no knighthood: journalists should never accept honours before they retire (if then). It suggests, however unfairly, compromise with those in power.

9:18 AM, July 30, 2013  

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