I do like the quirky dislocation that language can produce. This one didn’t throw me , but I did like the short loop, the little mind game it threw me into.
‘50 Hollande: Total Liquidation’. It’s the lead line on a flyer, pasted up in the petrol station window, deep in dairy country. What has the French president done to annoy the agricultural fraternity of central Uruguay? Are the French farmers up to their usual dastardly tricks, burning cow carcasses whilst the gendarmerie placidly look on? Or have they genetically modified fifty new presidents, that have escaped and now require erradication before they self-replicate and take over the Reichstag, the German parliament?
The answer is, of course, immediately obvious: the advert is for a remate, a roup, a displenishment sale. All the stock must sell, it’s just unfortunate that France’s unpopular premier shares the same name as a breed of dairy cow.
As a postscript, and another piece of inconsequential trivia, I now need to concoct a title for this piece, which has lead me down yet another lexiconic slope. If regicide is the killing of a king, what is the ’cide’ for a presidential termination? My ’Roget’ didn’t help, but amongst associated suggestions were ’uxoricide’, ‘vaticide’, and ’Thug’. The latter caught my curiosity, because it has been given proper noun status. It transpires that they were devotees of the Hindu diety Kali, who waylaid travellers and ritually strangled them. Another one of the many words that have passed into the English language by way of Hindi and Sanskrit.
So in the absence of a proper dictionary definition for my conundrum, might I be allowed to offer a plausible one: ‘Bovicide’?