Countdown’s Susie Dent, who describes herself in her Twitter bio as “that woman in Dictionary Corner”, sure has a way with words – though that’s to be expected.
Yet it isn’t just on Channel 4’s afternoon gameshow where the etymologist (that’s someone who studies the origins of words) can be found sharing her words of wisdom. Through her ‘word of the day’ on her Twitter account, she’s been putting a ‘Dent’ in politician’s egos and ‘subtweeting’ organisations at the top of the news agenda.
Look no further than the wordsmith’s tweet on Monday. As football fans raged at the news of a breakaway European Super League, Dent posted: “Word of the day is ‘ingordigiousness’: extreme greed; an insatiable desire for wealth at any cost.”
With this in mind, we’re counting down the best of Susie’s sass.
We’re a bit disappointed we couldn’t go for a risky nine for this list, but we hope you can settle for a strong six.
- Keir Starmer has perfect response after a confrontation with pub landlord spreading misinformation
- Video of shelter dog reacting to being adopted is 12 seconds of pure joy
- 38 of the funniest memes about the widely criticised European Super League
- A complete timeline of Lizzo’s drunken DM drama with Chris Evans
- Prince William’s chat with Harry during Prince Philip’s funeral has apparently been revealed by lipreaders
When President Trump suggested using bleach to treat coronavirus
In a press conference in April 2020 on how America’s tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, then-president Donald Trump made the “wild” suggestion that disinfectant be placed inside the body to kill the virus.
He told reporters: “I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. Is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?
“It’d be interesting to check that.”
We hate that we have to stress this, but please, don’t inject yourself with bleach or disinfectant.
As brands Toilet Duck and Dettol trended on Twitter following Trump’s remarks, Dent chipped in: “Here’s a reminder of the word ‘ultracrepidarian’: one who consistently offers opinions and advice on subjects way beyond their understanding.”
While Toilet Duck and Dettol are trending, here's a reminder of the word 'ultracrepidarian': one who consistently o… https://t.co/w3ZdjsFwDr— Susie Dent 💙 (@Susie Dent 💙) 1587717641
When she shared the word again on International Women’s Day
Every year, women have to remind men that yes, there is an International Men’s Day (it’s 19 November), and deal with any mansplaining which is thrown their way.
It’s perhaps in this vein that Dent used ultracrepidarian again on 8 March, International Women’s Day, maybe to describe such men.
“Another reminder that the word ‘ultracrepidarian’ … describes someone who loves holding forth on matters they know absolutely nothing about,” she tweeted.
When the health secretary was grilled on free school meals
Back in the days when Piers Morgan was on Good Morning Britain, grilling any politician who decided to appear on the heated ITV breakfast programme, Matt Hancock was quizzed by the broadcaster on the government’s stance on free school meals.
Morgan asked the health secretary: “Do you regret now, given how glad you are that it’s [free school meals] now happening, do you regret voting against it?”
Hancock replied: “Well, of course, I’m pleased that we’re making sure that during this lockdown…”
Matt Hancock - I'm really glad that we can send out free school meals when schools are out. Piers Morgan - If yo… https://t.co/S1kOl0Qjri— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺) 1610528476
After repeated questioning from Morgan on his previous vote, the health secretary continued to stress that he was “glad” that the support was now in place, clearly avoiding the question altogether.
On the day of the tense interview, Dent announced her word of the day was ‘circumlocutionist’.
Word of the day is ‘circumlocutionist’: one who consistently speaks in a roundabout way in order to avoid addressing a question directly.— Susie Dent 💙 (@Susie Dent 💙) 1610545159
“One who consistently speaks in a roundabout way in order to avoid addressing a question directly,” she said.
When Trump left the White House and was no longer president
On 20 January, Trump became former president and president-elect Joe Biden was inaugurated at the US Capitol.
As the divisive and controversial four-year term of Trump was brought to a close, Dent tweeted her word of the day.
Word of the day is 'exsibilate' (17th century): to hiss a poor performer off the stage.— Susie Dent 💙 (@Susie Dent 💙) 1611130448
“’Exsibilate’: to hiss a poor performer off the stage,” she wrote.
“How fitting as the US dumps Trump,” one user tweets in reply.
How fitting indeed.
When Johnson was forced to defend the “staggering” £37 billion cost of NHS Test and Trace
At the start of March, a report from the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee concluded that there was “no clear evidence” that COVID-19 infections had been reduced by the scheme.
In Prime Minister’s Questions that same day, Johnson said: “It’s thanks to Test and Trace we’re able to send kids back to school.”
In what many considered to be a nod to the £37 billion sum of NHS Test and Trace, Dent tweeted that her word of the day was ‘boondoggle’.
Word of the day (again) is ‘boondoggle’: a highly wasteful and ultimately ineffective project.— Susie Dent 💙 (@Susie Dent 💙) 1615380519
“A highly wasteful and ultimately ineffective project,” she said.
When she decided she didn’t need to be indirect about whom she was tweeting about
While the vague nature of Dent’s word of the day series can make it hard to figure out who or what the subject of her subtweet is (perhaps because, some might argue, the words can apply to several politicians), on one occasion the lexicographer decided to make it painfully obvious.
Quote tweeting a tweet from Trump’s now suspended Twitter account, presumably in which the ex-president was praising himself, Dent added: “Cockalorum (18th century): a strutting, self-important individual”.
Cockalorum (18th century): a strutting, self-important individual. (There’s also pavonise: to preen like a peacock). https://t.co/zSkHQYFmHi— Susie Dent 💙 (@Susie Dent 💙) 1585552090
And because one wasn’t enough, the Countdown star provided another word and definition to boot.
“There’s also pavonise: to preen like a peacock,” she wrote.
On many occasions, it appears as though Dent has had the last word – and we’re very much here for it.