This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sunday Rest: masstige. Word not to use today.

If masstige were the German word it appears to be it would be pronounced MASS-tigger, and would be rather sweet.

If only it were. Instead it's pronounced mass-TEEJ, to rhyme with prestige.

Yes. Ghastly, isn't it.

But there is yet worse to come. As it says on Wikipedia (brace yourselves, do, this is truly revolting) masstige is a marketing term meaning downward brand extension.

Downward brand extension...that, it seems, is a product advertised as high-quality or luxurious, but cheap enough even for fully sane people to buy.

So there we are. A truly horrible word to describe the cynical manipulation of mankind's less admirable aspirations.

Masstige: making out that stuff can deliver respect, envy, and style.

And I'm going to go and sniff some flowers to get rid of the stink of this one.

Morocco's Rose Festival - Credit H.Zell / Wikimedia Commons
Photo H.Zell Wikimedia Commons

Word Not To Use Today: masstige. This word is a mixture of mass (as in the masses, meaning the majority of people) and prestige. The term was popularised by Michael Silverstein and Neil Fiske in their book Trading Up and their Harvard Business Review article Luxury for the Masses.

Prestige - and I love this - comes from the Latin praestigiae, feats of juggling or tricks, and is probably something to do with praestringere, to bind tightly or blindfold.

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