This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Going slow fast - a rant.

The OECD (that's the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Gosh, you have to admire their sense of optimism, don't you) has recently announced that:

"The slowdown in leading economies around the world is gathering speed."

Now, I think I know what the OECD means. I think they mean that the economies are shrinking at a greater rate than before.

But, hey, perhaps the OECD means that the slowdown has turned into a speed-up.

Who can be sure?

This sort of thing is certainly tricky, and perhaps the OECD should try using musical terms, because they are rather good at describing speeds.

There's the useful molto mosso, which means with much agitation (ie, faster), and we have accelerando and rallentando for speeding up and slowing down.

Or there's always morendo, an instruction famously to the music rather than the performer. 

Morendo means getting slower and quieter and in the end dying away.

Word To Use Today: speed. This word comes from the Old English spēd, and before that from the Old High German spuon, meaning to prosper or succeed.

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