In which The Author passes on a challenge
During Friday evening’s edition of PM on Radio 4, regular presenter Eddie Mair played a small clip of an earlier interview with the British style guru Peter York. During the piece, Mr York had used the word ‘intertwangled’. It seems perfectly obvious (to me, anyway) what he meant. If it was just a slip of the tongue, it was an amusing one. If Mr York was trying to coin a new portmanteau word, a combination of ‘intertwined’ and ‘entangled’, he succeeded admirably. Even so, several listeners had contacted the programme to ask if ‘intertwangled’ really was a word.
To try and solve the problem, Mr Mair spoke to a lady who works on the Oxford English Dictionary. She seemed quite happy to entertain the possibility of ‘intertwangled’. After all, she said, someone’s already used it as a word, so logically speaking it must exist. She’d looked into the archives too, and found that it was first used in print in 1960. Unfortunately, it didn’t catch on at the time. Mr York’s on-air use of the word has probably brought it to a wider audience.
It has to be said that Mr York has form in this regard. It was he who coined the phrase ‘Sloane Ranger’ to describe those frightfully well-brought-up gels who frequented the wine bars and boutiques of Chelsea in the late 1970s and early 1980s. If he wants to lay claim to a new word, then I say ‘all the best’ to him.
Eddie Mair then set his listeners a challenge: To get ‘intertwangled’ into the dictionary. If a sufficiently large number of people use a word in print, on air, or online, after a while it enters common currency and earns its place in the dictionary. On Friday evening, he said he’d like to get ‘intertwangled’ trending on Twitter over the weekend. He used the word himself in last night’s programme, to keep it in circulation.
I for one think Mr Mair’s on to something. After all, two years ago hardly anybody knew the meaning of the word ‘twerk’ – apart from Barry Cryer, who suggested (on I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue) that it was the place where Yorkshire people went to earn a living. Suddenly, for no good reason (apart from some silly bint’s dancing on MTV) it became the buzzword of the year.
So, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to try and infiltrate the word ‘intertwangled’ into conversation, print, social media, or anywhere else the opportunity arises. Let’s all support Eddie Mair’s campaign to get ‘intertwangled’ into the dictionary where it belongs. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s over to you.