How do you make a kick in the balls more poignant? You hone in on it.

as long as i’ve been in advertising i’ve noticed that several phrases get mis-used over and over by ad and marketing folks. “we honed in on this idea” should be ” we homed in on this idea”. not that makes particular sense either. to hone is to sharpen something. pigeons home in on things. usually their home. that’s pretty much all they do actually.

another word that regularly takes a beating is “poignant”. Poignant means emotionally affecting in some way. POIGNANT: 1. keenly distressing to the feelings: poignant regret.
2. keen or strong in mental appeal: a subject of poignant interest.
3. affecting or moving the emotions: a poignant scene.
4. pungent to the smell: poignant cooking odors.

Yet i have heard it used to mean “heighten effect of” innumerous times. I actually once heard someone say in reference to a slaptsick beer commercial edit “It would make the kick in the balls more poignant if…”

Glad i got that off my chest. I feel much better now!

9 responses to “How do you make a kick in the balls more poignant? You hone in on it.

  1. How about ‘flushing out’ an idea instead of fleshing it out.

    Any idea that gets flushed out usually ends up in the sewer where it belongs.

  2. dan, yes, thanks for that one. “Let’s flush out that idea”. Grrrr…

  3. Ciaran McCabe

    Surely, to “flush out an idea’ is perfectly legitimate,
    meaning, to discover an idea that lies hidden.

    Not to worry, I’m going through my anal period
    just now.


  4. ciaran, you bring up a good point but when it’s (mis)used in this context it’s almost always after the initial ideas have been “flushed” out (in the pheasant-hunting sense) and the intended meaning is to further explore or “flesh out”.

  5. Vinny,

    I’ll see your point and raise you one: in my book (Offaly, circa the early fifties) to flesh out means to expand.

    And on a far more serious point, are you aware that Galway now play hurling in the Leinster championship, due to a lack of competition in Connacht. bit weird, eh?


  6. Thing about language is it evolves.

    Anytime a phrase or word is used incorrectly long enough and by enough people, that incorrect definition becomes the new one. Essentially English adapts to the times we live in. Which is great.

    Ciaran – I would buy your use of ‘flush out’ to find a hidden nugget. But that’s not how I ever see it used. It’s always, there’s a great start to an idea, now let’s build on it.

    And finally I really wish I knew more about Ireland – being of Irish decent and all.

  7. ciaran, that is odd. you mean mayo and donegal can’t field a hurling team?

  8. Ciaran McCabe

    I may have mentioned before, a Corkman, Tadhg Murphy, is partners in a new bar here in town – The Well/An Tobar – and I asked him. he explained that while Mayo may be able able to field a hurling team, Galway were constantly winning – so in order to give the others a chance they moved Galway to the Leinster league.

    To move it back to advertising, rather like DDB in the 60s.


  9. ciaran,

    really. wow. i am so disconnected from irish sports. haven’t a clue. snooker was my sport. but i was in Croke Park when Galway won the All Ireland after a 60 year gap. a volcanic reaction. galway was always big hurling country.

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