This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Sunday Rest: insectageddon. Word Not To Use Today.

The Guardian newspaper tells us that the word insectageddon "has entered popular vocabulary".

No it hasn't - and we must all surely hope it won't!

Sunday Rest: insectageddon. This monstrosity of a word does at least have the quality of being easily understood. It refers to the large decrease in the numbers (or perhaps weight) of insects to be found on the planet.

Unfortunately neither of the studies which has foretold insectageddon have had access to enough data to analyse the problem (if there is one) thoroughly. The data for at least one of the studies was collected by searching for published reports with the words "survey + insect + decline" in the summary or title. This means that any analysis, any study showing an increase, and any study referring to bee (for example) numbers, would have been excluded from the study. 

The other problem with the announcement of insectageddon is that most of the published research have been done in Europe, which means that most of the data comes from Europe.

Are we headed for insectageddon? I don't know. It's a worrying thought. But if we are, the use of a silly word like insectageddon  isn't going to give anyone any confidence in the measured neutrality of the study. 

The word Armageddon comes from the Bible. Har megiddōn, the mountain district of Megiddo, in North Palestine, was the site of various biblical battles. The word insect comes from the Latin word insectum, and means animal that has been cut into, from secāre, to cut.

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