Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's a 'crash blossom'?

Holly and Carey sent us a link to this story about the confusion that can sometimes arise with headlines that try to condense too much:

Linguists give a name to an old headline hazardIf brevity is the soul of wit, it is also the trapdoor of ridiculousness—at least in the world of headlines, which have long been prone to unintentional comedy along the lines of “Woman Better after Being Thrown from High-rise” and “Scientists Are at Loss Due to Brain-eating Amoeba.”

Now there’s a name for the phenomenon of ambiguously or bizarrely worded headlines: “crash blossoms,” as suggested by a poster at the Testy Copy Editors site in response to the headline “Violinist linked to JAL crash blossoms.”

Read the rest.

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