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'Fulsome' apology does not mean what Phil Hogan thinks

No doubt every word of Phil Hogan's mea culpa was carefully chosen, with the aim of satisfying everyone from party HQ to the public.

Unfortunately, his misuse of the English language undermined his intentions as he insisted his apology was "fulsome" - a word that means insincere or excessive.

In fairness, he wouldn't be the first to make the mistake. The misuse is becoming so common that online dictionary compilers have begun to acknowledge the shift and offer an alternative, secondary meaning of "extensive" or "abundant", somewhere closer to that meant by Mr Hogan.

But authorities such as the Oxford English Dictionary still consider the primary meaning to be "offensive to good taste" - rather like that dinner in Clifden last week.

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