Susie Dent's book was accidentally sent out to booksellers before its release date
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.
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
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
“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