Rantings of a sub-editor

February 25, 2010

Circumventing the ready meal

Filed under: circumvent,word choice — substuff @ 3:24 pm
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(A bit like Romancing the Stone, but less… er… romantic)

The wilds of Crawley appear fairly free of dastardly lexical deeds today. However, this one did raise a chuckle:

[Company] redesigned the packaging so that all the information was on a watch strap-shaped strip of cardboard circumventing the meal.

Alarm bells ring… rightly so, it transpires. The OED says:

Circumvent:
find a way around [an obstacle], overcome (a problem or difficulty) typically in a clever and surreptitious way: terrorists found the airport checks easy to circumvent.

Sneaky little cardboard strip!

The Guardian has a Word of Mouth blog post on foodie mispronunciations today, with such beauties as crudités pronounced “crudd-ites” and mange tout as “mango trout”.

My favourite response so far comes from Pippatree:

Not a mispronunciation, but a mistranslation. As a student in a French conversation class, we were discussing food; fast food and ready meals in particular. I made the point that I thought there are too many preservatives in ready-prepared meals. Unfortunately and embarrassingly, ‘preservative’ in French is conservateur and not, as I assumed, préservatif, although too many condoms in ready meals would also be an issue for me.

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