The Degradation of Terms – A la carte

Let’s start with a confession – I was in KFC last night for a fix of fast chicken and chips.

Jimmy and Granddad visit ButtermereWhile I was waiting the few minutes for the food to arrive I glanced around the posters on the walls before me. I was slightly stunned to find that KFC do an a la carte menu. Yes, really…

It reminded me a bit of a sketch in the Royal Family where Barbara is talking to Nana while she does her hair:

Nana: “Barbara did I tell you that my dead friend Elsie’s daughter Marion went out for a meal last Friday with here husband Lionel.

Barbara: “Oh, What did they have?”

Nana: “They both had a la carte”

Barbara: “Oh, how lovely”

Nana: “What is a la carte, Barbara?”

Barbara: “Oh, I don’t know … I wouldn’t mind trying a la Carte one night, I’m sick of chops!”

I’ve witnessed the degradation of term countless times before.

A term gets defined by a group of people who know what the term means, the term then gets popularised and in so doing it gets stretched. There comes a point where it’s stretched so much that it no longer has any meaning, or even changes its meaning completely.

There’s a few terms going through the stretching process at the moment, it won’t be long before they are deprived of all of their original meaning.

When we communicate we have to be careful that the term we once used still has the same meaning.

The Royale Family Sketch is here:

A la carte

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