This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Sunday Rest: keypal. Word Not To Use Today.

At first sight this word looks as if it might be something interesting. Keypal...could that be some exotic Indian fabric? An Iranian porridge? An Indonesian flying squirrel?

Nope. Sorry.

I'm afraid this word describes an electronic relationship. It's a computer-age form of pen pal

Yes, ouch.

Why is the word keypal so depressing? Is it because of the failure of our old-fashioned pen pals, who are generally doomed to fade away because so little that's interesting is important enough to dignify with the use of an envelope, a trip to a postbox, the shoe leather of a postman, and the cost of a stamp?

Of course email leaps gloriously over all those objections. An email can say Thanks! or Ant invasion! or I've just put the washing out and now it's tipping down! (and of course one can do the serious stuff, too). Online relationships with friends and relatives can be quite as important and engrossing as those we have with the people we meet.

Virtual or not, they're genuine relationships. 

So why should anyone dream of diminishing precious email friends by terming them keypals?

Word Not To Use Today: keypal. This word was made up in the 1990s. Luckily, it's never really caught on.

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