Thursday 27 July 2017

Is it a verb or is it even a word? No, it's a Palin

2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin speaking in Boston last April
2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin speaking in Boston last April

Philip Hensher

Sarah Palin's ongoing struggle with the English language entered a new phase this week, when she called on her Twitter followers to "refudiate" the proposal to build a mosque on the site of the World Trade Centre.

Mockery followed, as did a tweet in which she corrected herself and asked people to "refute" it. Not correct, either. Finally, she put an end to it by saying: "Refudiate, misunderestimate, wee-wee'd up. English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin words, too."

Her three examples are all interesting. "Refudiate" is a portmanteau word -- one that blends syllables and meanings to novel effect -- invented by Ms Palin from "refute" and "repudiate".

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Don't Miss