Posted by languageandgrammar on May 13, 2008
Blowback has become an increasingly popular (i.e, trendy) term, and it’s being used to mean….uh…actually, I don’t know what it’s being used to mean. That’s one of the problems with words that are made up or words that are being used to mean something other than what they really do mean (i.e, misused).
It seems to mean consequences, such as The blowback from John McCain’s negative campaigning is that Independents might not vote for him. Why a news reporter would choose to say blowback instead of consequences is beyond me since the word consequences would articulately and accurately give the intended meaning while the word blowback would accurately paint the picture of most members of the audience scratching their heads.
Even the most popular, ultra-modern online dictionary has not (as of this writing) started to define blowback to mean consequences, but it does define it in a number of other ways, the only one of which has any hint of consequences is “the effect caused by recirculation into the source country of disinformation previously planted abroad by that country’s intelligence service in an effort to mislead the government of another country.” I’d have to think about what what really means, but it doesn’t mean consequences.
Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever;
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