Moribund Metaphors & Wretched Redundancies

The words and phrases below are all courtesy of The Dimwit’s Dictionary (free download), which I’ve had in the paperback edition since 1994, the year it was written. There have been a couple of updates, but you know what? This version is just fine, if only to remind me that turgid prose is everywhere! The author, Robert Hartwell Fiske, the editor and publisher of The Vocabula Review, is merciless; he skewers many phrases and words we all hold dear.

Readers, beware. You’ll never look at your writing the same way again.

Here are a few examples for today; I promise more in the coming weeks and months, which may also fall into one or more the following categories:

Foreign phrases
Grammatical gimmicks
Ineffectual phrases
Inescapable pairs
Infantile phrases
Insipid similes
Overworked words
Plebian sentiments
Popular prescriptions
Quack equations
Suspect superlatives
Torpid terms
Withered words

Moribund Metaphors:  add fuel to the fire, at wit’s end, book of woes, clear a major hurdle, den of thieves, forever and a day

Wretched Redundancies:  Audible (inaudible) to the ear, because of the fact that, for all intents and purposes, free gift, make a concerted effort, over my dead body

Don’t you just love our language?