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Cure needed for pandemic’s verbal virus

The lexicographers are working overtime.

New words are being coined, reviewed and added to dictionaries worldwide almost daily.

It seems there’s nothing like disasters and pandemics to send the spin doctors into a frenzy of creativity as they try to find ways of cloaking and minimising what is actually happening.

Plain speaking is avoided at all costs – brushed roughly aside as obfuscation takes its place.

It is an ignoble artform long practised by bureaucrats, politicians, the corporates and all who feel unable to call a spade a tool for digging dirt, or for shovelling it to one side.

And the commentators, journalists and reporters who try to undermine the use of such gibberish, seeking meaning behind the mask, are met with stiff resistance.

They are labelled as negative naysayers by the affronted victims of their probing.

Or as purveyors of fake news, another neologism and one so rapidly entrenched in common parlance that it has taken mere months to attain cliche status.

But among the flurry of new words approved and added by the august OED there is surely none more suited to these uncertain times than infodemic.

The OED describes this as “a proliferation of diverse, often unsubstantiated information related to a crisis, controversy or event, which disseminates rapidly”.

A word to embrace the predominant language of today.  And sadly, one fears, for well into the future.

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