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Brandon Robshaw: English Usage #21


I might give the impression here sometimes that all I do is complain about language usage when it's not what I'm used to; that I resist neologisms, linguistic innovation and change. Well, that's not true. Today I want to appreciate the word "worldie", used by football commentators to mean a world-class piece of play. When the word was first coined it was mostly used to describe saves, but obviously it can now mean goals too, and I suppose by extension passes, tackles, interceptions and so on.

Why do I like it? I like it because it has a sort of friendly, jokey air to it. It's funny. There's something endearingly childlike about it. I also like it because it's intuitive. I didn't need to have it explained the first time I heard it, even though understanding "world-class save" from the single word worldie might seem a bit of a stretch. And, of course, I like it even more when it's applied to the exploits of Spurs players.

Dr Brandon Robshaw lectures for the Open University in Philosophy, Creative Writing and Children’s Literature. He has written several children’s books including a philosophical YA novel, The Infinite Powers of Adam Gowers. He and his family starred in BBC2’s Back in Time for Dinner. You can find his website here.


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