Untruisms


Some phrases are only used when they are untrue. Although legislation has rendered "This hurts me more than it hurts you" obsolete, and "the cheque is in the post" has long passed into cliche, many other untruisms are thriving in modern English.

Some untruisms reflect on the way we use the language:

Cornish dialect provides a lovely example: "drekly", which literally means "directly", but is used to mean "later on".

Other untruisms reflect on the way we live:

The sentence "I am armed to the teeth" is an untruism whenever it is pronounced correctly. If it were true, it would be pronounced "Eye ar arrr kaar keef".

RLC points out that the phrase 'hang up' is always untrue, because things can't hang up - by definition, they hang down. That's not an untruism, it is an oxymoron. But interesting.

DK remarks that the suffix "-style" is an untruism in packaging:"The example was 'French-style bread', indicating, of course, that a typical Frenchman would rather bite his own hand off than eat the product". See also 'chocolate-style'.

Most recent additions (June 2015) marked thus. Additions and corrections to richard@onetrickwords.com please.

Richard's Useful Lists

One-trick Words

Untruisms

Heteronyms

Silent letters

Morissettes

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Wordplay compiled by Richard Stevens.