TRADUCTATERM IN FOCUS: OMNISHAMBLES
In 2012, the Oxford English Dictionary named “omnishambles” its word of the year. It is a combination of the prefix “omni” meaning “all” and “shambles”, “a state of total disorder”. Accordingly, the OED defines the term as “A situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.” The term was first coined in the BBC political satire, “the Thick of It”: it is used by the character of Malcolm Tucker, the UK Government’s acerbic and foul-mouthed government Director of Communications, to describe a government minister.
It is rare that a term first invented by a television programme has such a lasting effect on the vocabulary of a language. The term’s staying power is perhaps testament to the impact and the insightfulness of the series. Indeed, it was famously used by the then leader of the UK Labour Party, Ed Miliband, to describe the 2012 UK government budget. Today’s chaotic and unpredictable political landscape today has meant that the term still commonly appears in news headlines. It has been used to describe subjects as diverse as Brexit, electoral campaigns, Theresa May’s speech to the 2017 Conservative Party Conference, the 2017 UK Autumn budget and the internal politics of the Labour Party. Indeed, doing an internet search for any topic in British politics, along with the word “omnishambles” is sure to bring up a long list of results from a variety of news outlets.
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