Colourful Language


This week Blockbusting author Stephen King was interviewed for The Atlantic. In this discussion about the dark art of teaching writing, he revealed the phrases which give him a  proverbial dose of the shites.   For King nothing clears  (a-hem) writers blockage faster than the expressions “Some people say”, or “Many believe,” or “The consensus is”.  He also despises IMHO, YOLO, and LOL. The piece has done multiple laps around the world has triggered spirited discussion on social media.  I’ve been following it was interest because in my grumpy old age nothing  gives me more enjoyment than an orgy of “I hate that too”. (Except perhaps a light, crisp rose, a block of over 75% cacao Lindt and the spectacle of shirtless sword fighting Vikings).

Back in the day when I wrote about the stock market for a living, I was guilty of overusing the term “consensus” as was every equity analyst in town. There  was a consensus about the use of consensus. It got so bad that one of our dealers chided the research team about “sitting around the campfire of consensus”.  We also regularly dropped clangers like “scalable business model”, “leverage”, “synergies”, “share price catalysts”,  “the investment story” and (shudder) “going forward”.  No doubt had Stephen King been present at a stockbrokers meeting he would have let Cujo loose on the lot of us.

The consensus is Cujo's coming for YOU!

The consensus is Cujo’s coming for YOU!

Now that I’ve tumbled off the career trajectory, I’m still keen to irritate Stephen King and others through the use of IMHO. In my humble opinion, its more efficient than writing IMNSHO (in my not so humble opinion).  I’ve never exercised YOLO because I can imagine its what Justin Bieber said when he crashed that Ferrari. And even at my advanced age I know that LOL is naff. I prefer emoticons when I’m LOLing. 😉 (I’m not trying to argue that its cool).



Anyhow reading through the lively reaction to King’s comments, there appears to be a consensus about hating the term “going forward” or “moving forward”. Similarly many believe those who like punctuate every sentence with the word “like” should be like shot.  Also I was LMFAOing at the widespread distaste for abbreviations. I’ve got a few of my own to add to the linguistic stink list.

1) “The magic happens outside your comfort zone”.  The terms “magic happens” and “outside your comfort zone” are annoying enough on their own. Combining them is taking wankery to a whole new level.  If this sentence is used with a diagram illustrating where the “magic happens” my irritation goes off the scale.



My irritation depicted graphically. It's off the chart.

My irritation depicted graphically. It’s off the chart.


2) “On the same page”. It would have to be an excessively large page for us both to fit.

3) “Change the game”. Life is like Monopoly – some people buy up half the board and others pay rent. I’d rather play Catch n’ Kiss. Lets change the game.

4) “Hit the ground running”. I’d rather not hit the ground at all. It sounds painful.

5) “Think outside the square”. What’s wrong with the square? Its hip to be square.

6) “It is what it is”.  A redundant expression if ever I have heard one.

On the other hand, much of the old style Australian idiom has gone the way of the dodo and I would like to see it back a come back (Much like Christ is touted to do – any day now). My family were always (a-hem) colourful with their use of language and it baffles me that some of their sayings have dropped out of (or never made it into) the common parlance. For example when thirsty my father would say something along the lines of

“Bren I tell you. I am drier than a nun’s nasty”.

When doubtful of someone’s intelligence he’d say

“That guy wouldn’t know if his arse is on fire” or alternatively

“That guy wouldn’t know his arse from his elbow”.

Not knowing that your arse is on fire is a modern epidemic.

Not knowing that your arse is on fire is a modern epidemic.


My personal favorite was reserved for describing a person who was a bad –

“He couldn’t hit pussy in the arse with a plate of wheat”.

I wont tell you how he described bad drivers, save to say it involved digits and orifices.

My brother inherited my father’s interesting turn of phrase. He has been known to muse deeply about the comedic value of farts in elevators. However my favorite quote from him is one he uses when an issue is of little concern to him.

” I couldn’t give an f%^king rats ring in raspberry juice”.

Why that gem didn’t enter the mainstream dialect I will never know.

I guess this goes to show that whilst you can take me out of the Sutherland Shire and transplant into an affluent area you’ll never make me classy. Its just not in the DNA. And seriously blog fans would you want me any other way.

What sayings make you cringe? And which ones should be used more often?


LOL (as in lots of love)


PS: Dadabs gave me a years subscription to Photoshop for my birthday. He is delighted that I’m using it to set fire to Nicki Minaj’s arse.




34 thoughts on “Colourful Language

  1. I think I’d quite like to have a beer with your Dad. He sounds hilarious!

  2. I’d like to add ‘stakeholder’ to the list. In fact, make it ‘stakeholder consensus’. And I’m standing by ‘It is what it is’. Said through gritted teeth often enough, it’s kept my children alive through many a difficult time!

    • Well Nathan Fillion said “it is what it is” in FireFly a few times and Nathan Fillion is smokin’ hawt. My point – Nathan Fillion in FireFly was smokin’ hawt. It was what it was. Everyone needs to watch that series.

  3. Marginally on-topic, but I want to burn every inspirational meme in existence. Slapping up a quote by Lao Tse does not make you a genius. Please go back to your miserable life and spare me your copy-pasted insight.

  4. I’m SO guilty of the over-use of cliche and crass expression. I don’t think it’s that bad if used in a derogatory way.

  5. I love the colourful turn of phrase by both your dad and brother. I always liked “I’m so hungry I could bite the crotch from a low flying crow,” and “He’s got more front than a rat with a gold tooth.” I’ve read S.King’s book On Writing and it permanently erased any ambition I had to write a book… ever.

  6. Ha! I love those phrases! As an ex-government employee I was a bit over bureaucratic speak…. ‘going forward’ etc. Tell it like it bloody is, I say!

  7. SHIT A BRICK – that’s funny. Oh and thanks for the clarification on the Minaj’s arse. When I first saw it it looked a little like maple leaf’s. For a second I thought she had a deciduous bottom.

  8. Perspective. I’d like to get marketing’s perspective on this. I like it from a business perspective. From a SAHM perspective, I’m over perspective. Perspectively.

    (And the irritation graph. Funniest. Thing. Like. Ever.

  9. As someone who is still in the corporate trenches there are actually days where entire conversations are made up solely using the wank-phrases on your list. Thinking outside the box is the one that makes me want to claw at my own eyes – thankfully I have never been unfortunate enough to hear it combined with magic happens (vomit).

    The other one I can’t stand is learnings. As in when you come back from a conference you are asked to share your learnings with the rest of the team. Its a fucking VERB you idiots!

  10. The place I worked last year had to make an APP for their acronyms… I think they were obsessed.

  11. I thought they were autumn leaves on her butt. I can see that it’s fire now that you mention it 🙂
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

  12. As an apprentice I heard heaps of funny sayings that would crack me up and probably not good to share here because there would be a few swear words littered amongst the gems. One I do remember similar to your dad’s was He doesn’t know his cheek to his a-hole. Sometimes builders would let fly on my dad’s phone, not aware that it was on speaker in the ute and I got to hear all of it. It was an education I can tell you. 🙂

  13. I hate people who call or email to “touch base” with you! As for great Aussie expressions- “drier than a dead dingo’s donger” and “uglier than a hatful or arseholes” spring to mind 🙂

  14. I would like people to stop saying “That moment when …” I have a friend who does it all the time and her moments are lame.

  15. It wouldn’t be an Aussie slang comment with the use of ‘carrying on like a pork chop. My friend asked me yesterday how a pork chop carries on and I replied..just go with it. I then spent half of the night on youtube trying to find a video of a pork chop carrying on. Obviously it was very important stuff.

  16. As an ex-HR guru (I use the term “guru” lightly) and recruiter I hated the term “Can Do Attitude” on job ads and PDs, basically code for “You will be my slave and not complain when I get all passive-aggressive on your subordinate arse”. If any job ad has “Can Do Attitude” I just think “fuck off” and move on. Kx

  17. Don’t think I’ll be having any of that raspberry juice!
    These all took me back to when I was a kid, my dad had many of them on high rotation.

  18. SHIT my comment just got gobbled – I wrote that I had the saying “he couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery” and when someone says “I love everything except..” So then you don”t love EVERYTHING. Thanks for linking (and sorry for my tardiness I’m out of the country – sounds exotic doesn’t it? It’s not x

  19. I often say I’ve been “flat out like a lizard drinking” or that I’m “off like a bucket of prawns in the sun” – typical ocker Aussie sheila, that’s me! As for your corporate jargon, I used to amuse myself in meetings by playing bingo with all the common phrases (“moving forward” was a favourite!), it would give me the giggles. Maybe that’s why I really got made redundant from that job LOL?!

    Visiting today from #teamIBOT xxx

  20. You are lucky to have such a wonderful and hilarious father

  21. I hate corporate jargon and I’m so glad I never had to work in such a setting, I would have been terrible! My favourite saying, which I am on a mission to have repeated the world over, and which you just don’t hear enough is “I’m sweating like a whore in church!”

  22. I don’t know when we all decided that Aussie vernacular was naff, but I reckon it’s time we embraced it. ‘Cos it’s sure more colourful and interesting than the corporate jargon those Americanos have been ramming down our necks for years. It’s time they hit the frog and toad… x

  23. You will be happy to know the australian idiom is alive and well with me 🙂

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