11 February, 2011
Linguist and TV regular, Kate Burridge throws down a gauntlet in her entertaining read, Gift of the Gob. The challenge is gob-related in fact, and I quote: Cannibalism is the ultimate of all our food taboos, if not society’s ultimate taboo. But where are the euphemisms?
Seems every other cultural delicacy, from bathroom breaks to death, has a string of phrases to mask the unpleasant details. But not cannibalism.
In campus circles, the practice is dubbed anthropophagy, but that won’t wash as a fudge-term in general conversation. So what will?
Hannibal Lecter, perhaps the most infamous human-muncher, delights in the phrase of having dinner with an old friend. Which must get the prize so far. But can you out-phrase the cannibal? Feels like a comical column in the making – all we need is some succulent suggestions. How can we ‘name’ cannibals or cannibalism with style? From facetious to ingenious, all ideas welcome – and I’ll pass the cream onto Kate as well!"