War on terror clichés

October 23, 2006 at 11:06 am (Double espresso)


Some phrases lose currency through repetition:

– “The future of our country is at threat from terrapins.”

– “We can’t let the terrapins win.”

– “We will round up all terrapin leaders”

– “Not all Muslims are terrapins. Only a radicalised minority.”

– “Terrapins have infiltrated the Iraqi police.”

– “Suspected terrapins will receive a fair trial.”

– “One man’s terrapin is another man’s freedom fighter.”


  1. readerly said,

    What struck me about this post was that the word terrapin was so familiar, but I couldn’t place it. I I suspected it was similar to haberdasher, since I had read it in a Shakespeare play recently and I had to look it up. Oh British English.

  2. peyvand said,

    Not sure how many terrapins feature in Shakespeare, but the question remains, what do you call terrapins across the pond?

  3. readerly said,

    You’re right. It wasn’t Shakespeare. It was Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and there was a Mock Turtle, and something about terrapin soup, I think.

    terrapin |ˈterəˌpin| noun 1 (also diamondback terrapin) a small edible turtle with lozenge-shaped markings on its shell, found in coastal marshes of the eastern U.S.

    diamondback terrapin
    • Malaclemys terrapin, family Emydidae. 2 a freshwater turtle, esp. one of the smaller kinds of the Old World. Also called turtle .

    ORIGIN early 17th cent.(denoting the diamondback terrapin): of Algonquian origin.

    I suspect, from what I’ve gathered from the dictionary, that the reason why I’m unfamiliar with the word terrapin is because a) I’m not from the Old World b) nor am I familiar with the marine life of coastal marshes of the eastern U.S.

    I had to look up Old World, too. (Who refers to it as the Old World? Honestly!)

    Europe, Asia, and Africa, regarded collectively as the part of the world known before the discovery of the Americas. Compare with New World .

  4. 3. Do not play with terrapins « My Christian Prison said,

    […] Picture from – https://soulbean.wordpress.com/2006/10/23/war-cliches/ […]

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