You may recall that some little while ago I talked about Stupid News Speak – the way in which the news media mangles the English language for their own unfathomable ends.

Well, this recent discussion about wild weather reminded me of another curious phenomenon in the world of news linguistics – the circumstance of The Anachronistic Word.

This is when a word that would otherwise have been relegated to the Old People’s Home of language is artificially kept alive like some kind of etymological zombie to do the bidding of semi-literate journalists. For example, consider the word chiefly. Who uses chiefly except news weathermen?

The West will see some rain, chiefly on the ranges…

And, when does anything wreak havoc except in the news description of a tornado or mob of unhappy student protesters?

In the world of news, a person does not fall to their death. No way José! They plummet. Hands up who’s used the word plummet in conversation in the last decade?

But my favourite must surely be the way that about the only thing that is ever hampered in the modern world is rescue efforts.

There are many more of these. Your favourites?