Literally the next thing on pedants’ lists

I think we’re probably on our way to winning the war on misuse of the word ‘literally’. It may not feel like it to you but once a point of pedantry becomes a set-piece in The Big Bang Theory we can say it’s hitting mainstream.

So if we’re looking for something new to rail against (and I generally am), may I please submit the word ‘chronic’? That’s ‘chronic’ as in recurrent, yet often used to mean ‘bad’.

Someone with chronic bronchitis does not have particularly bad bronchitis, they have recurrent bronchitis. When you stubbed your toe on the wardrobe door it did not, in fact, hurt ‘something chronic’, unless for some reason it decided to hurt in fits and starts and if that’s the case you should probably go to A&E. I very much doubt that Hugh Laurie’s school reports were chronic, the state of your undersink cupboard is not chronic, your haircut is not chronic and you do not have a chronic day ahead of you. You are, however, a chronic dumbass and I reserve the right to loathe you. Chronically.


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