Thursday, July 28, 2005

At a Loss for Words

For too long we have been using the wrong word. I don’t mean the substitution of “insurgent” where “terrorist” or “murderer” would better serve the truth. Except for the recalcitrance of the MSM, we’ve solved that one already. What we need is a new word, a neologism for the new world entropy.

It’s obvious that human beings are the animals who use words. We play with them, create them, adapt them to new uses. We make verbs and nouns and then make the nouns serve as verbs and all of it in constant flux. Except for the French, of course, who pass their words through a committee and end up with with lumpy, lame neologisms that look and sound vaguely like camels...all just so they won't have to resort to English.

Different fields develop their own jargon but not all of it is self-explanatory even to its initiates. The military is famous — or notorious, given your prejudice — for creating acronyms. Here’s one that shows soldierly ingenuity: BASH. No, it’s not a fancy party and it’s not when someone is struck on the head —though that’s closer. BASH is a bird aircraft strike hazard. The military is usually in a hurry, thus the shorter the word, the better. BASH does nicely to describe a messy, dangerous situation.

Medicine, too, has more than its share of buzz words. Many of them are so designed that medical personnel can talk amongst themselves in front of you while not actually giving you any information. Since they often work in crisis conditions, this is understandable. No one wants to make an already anxious patient go into melt-down. That’s why “carcinoma” used to be so handy; unfortunately most of the rest of us know that one now. Then there’s “gomer.” How many people know what that is? Let us hope not the person to whom it refers. Sometimes doctors seem like parents talking Pig Latin in front of the children. Ixnay.

Today, the most creative field for neologisms is IT. Information technology. These guys are in just as much of a hurry as any soldier, and often seem as much in crisis mode as a medical team. Just ask the Help Desk when people need their laptop fixed. Usually yesterday, and those asking for help aren’t known for their intelligence or courtesy. By now so many hacker terms have been incorporated into the real world that we don’t even notice their presence anymore. Spam, flame, spyware, emoticons, etc., have been taken over by the rest of us because they’re useful. And hackers don’t mind sharing, especially since anything they’re using today is tomorrow’s doorstop (that’s one hacker term for obsolete).

All of this is a long introduction to the search for a neologism which serves the reality we face when some terrorist blows himself up and takes other people with him. “Suicide bomber” isn’t really accurate. He didn’t just commit suicide, he also committed homicide, and often on a large scale. To call what he did ‘suicide’ is too genteel, and essentially inaccurate because it does not convey the utter cruelty of his act.

I don’t have a good term yet; it's a work in progress. For the moment, the word that comes to mind is “omnicide.” Or maybe, just to make the point that no man --not even an infidel -- is an island, we could start calling this slaughter what it is: fratricide. If nothing else, the name would annoy the bejesus out of Allah's annointed, now wouldn't it?

Any suggestions from the blogosphere?


Dr. Sanity said...

How about "sadistic suicide"? Or, SPIT - suicide promoting ideological terrorism?

AbbaGav said...


I'm having a hard time thinking of others that aren't laced with swear words. Nice writing by the way, or should I say, "strong post" (in case non-bloggers are looking).

Baron Bodissey said...


Let's take 'em at their word.

Dymphna said...

These are great ideas! Maybe we can spread them...

The Spitters Bombed a London Train Yesterday...

Gavriel, you're too about right around here's idea in this headline: Another Cadaver Struck in Tel Aviv yesterday...

Baron, I like the word but I'd anglicize it: Death Lovers Set Off Another Car Bomb in Basrah.

We need to get the always trenchant a4g over here for some ideas...

Jimmie said...

The very best term I've seen in a long time isn't new, but it's not gotten a lot of press. It was coined for a book about "Islamic Martyrology" and it's brilliant.

Let's use "Islamikaze".

Baron Bodissey said...

Jimmie's got it! I vote for "Islamikaze".

El Jefe Maximo said...

How bout "Hellbombers ?" Describes their more likely destination, and the place we want to help them get to, rather than the place of the 72 virgins.

Only downside I can see is that this may possibly make these worms sound a little too fearsome.

goesh said...

Yeah, waterdragon, the kamikazes had the honor to go after armed men. I like IBs (islamic butchers) myself, but I see alot of other good ideas here.

Empire1 said...

I use Death Eaters, myself, when I post on that subject.

truepeers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jude the Obscure said...

I see Tony Blair is in on the naming game as well. If multiculturalism didn't work, call it some else.

The trouble with neologisms and acronyms is that they take time to become known for what they mean and most people aren't literate enough to take the time or the trouble to make sense of them. Classical allusions ditto.

Why are Islamists permitted to refer to themselves as 'martyrs' and to non-Islamists as 'infidels'? Both words are Latinate not Arabic. 'Martyr' as a word describes suffering and death for the Christian religion and 'infidel' was used by the Crusaders to describe the Islamists. To begin with both words should be put back into their original places. Islamists are infidels and the people they kill are martyrs.

Tomorrow's headline: Infidels Murder Innocent Christians and Jews. (That'll confuse them.)

The problem of course is that there is still a distinction being made between radical and moderate Muslims. Until this distinction is erased there will be resistance to re-naming the whole Islamist ideology as infidel while at the same time all non-Islamists may be called kaffirs, infidels or whatever takes the fancy of the next crazy imam.

Don't you think it is better to make a distinction between the perpetrator of the crime and the victims, rather than having one word to describe the whole act including murderer and murdered and thereby joining them together? My suggestion for a real word to replace the dizzy round of MSM uncertainty about insurgent, suicide bomber, or terrorist is 'repticide' (reptile suicide) not 'repticide bomber'. e.g. Repticide Murders Innocent Citizens. Or what about Muslicide? Islamicide?

Also, is it not time to bring back words like 'quisling', and 'seditious', and name the person or act for what it is? These 'cide people are British citizens. Isn't this the way to push the tide of political correctness back?

Robert Pearson said...


Suicidal Cowardly Unmanly Muslims (or Murderers, in the case of non-Muslims, but there aren't that many of those, now are there?

By coincidence I was working on a post about why, to me, they're not terrorists, either. Thanks to your "strong post" I now have even more material! It should be up shortly. Thank you, Dymphna!

felix said...


Also, the 911 jihad attacks or the July 7 London Jihad attacks,

Dymphna said...

Well, this has been an overwhelming response! Thank you all for coming by with suggestions; I'm glad other bloggers have been considering the same question.

I'll collate the suggestions and post on them shortly.

Indigo Red said...

I would love to coin the new word to describe these maniacs, but the really great words just happen.

The actions and people currently in vogue in the evil section of the restaurant are beyond description and understanding. None of the current words seem to fit and only sound lame when used. Terrorist, sabatour, suicide bomber, homocide bomber, murderer, insurgent - all lack a certain "something".

The best I can contribute is "loser", but even that doesn't really work, either. It does have the advantage of being a word that Muhammad and Allah used. It has a very negative meaning to the Muslim devouts.

El Jefe Maximo said...

As an aside, the problem with terms like "Quisling" and so many other terms that would be useful to describe batches of folks, is that most of the dummies won't get it, given where history education is today.

Your average college graduate, history major even, has his history of feminism, and his history of the civil rights revolution down, but would probably would think a Quisling was a baby penguin or something.

Oh yeah, give extra points if your average college spouter of the term "fascist" can place the Blackshirts in the right century, let alone country.

Always On Watch said...

Papa Bear,
All the more reason to use Islamikaze. As you pointed out, the term includes the idea of breaking wind.

How about Allah-amikazes?

Rename the War on Terror (WOT) to the War on Radical Islam (WORI).

Kathy K said...


Comes from the word "Thugee" - a term describing Hindu followers of Kali, who were religious murderers.

Dymphna said...

Bellicose woman (I love your name!Makes me think of a song line from Tennessee Ernie Ford: "when you see me comin' better step aside/ a lotta men didn't and a lotta men died..."

Anyway, which came first: the assassins or the thugee? Do you think it developed separately or was there some borrowing here -- and which from whom?

Thanks for reminding me of this. Would some Hindu commenters please speak up here?