There was a lot of it during the Olympics; the Paralympics promises to be just as bad; but then it is so widespread nowadays that it is unusual to go half an hour without hearing it.
I’m talking about the phrase “smashed it”.
The meaning is simple. “Smashed it” means you/I/they did quite well. There doesn’t seem to be any connection with the term “smash hit”, which has been around since the 1920s. Neither is it derived from the adjective “smashing”.
Nor does it relate to tennis, in which you can play a smash. This is disappointing, I would have enjoyed the twists that tied tongues in claims of smashing it with a smashing smash
It feels like a “young” thing to say, though was, I’m told, coined as a phrase more than 20 years ago. It is today’s equivalent of “over the moon”, spouted by every footballer who kicked a ball in the 1980s.
I try not to use phrases everyone else is using. It is like wearing someone else’s clothes or sipping from their cup of tea. A lazy way of talking.
In any case, it is embarrassing when an older person adopts the slang of the young. It’s the spoken version of an inky black comb-over masquerading as a natural head of hair. It’s mutton baaing as lamb.
Be comfortable with your own speech patterns. Mature dignity is a better suit than fashionable pants that don’t fit.
However, worst of all, this phrase has become meaningless through overuse. There is no richness or radiance left in it. The colour has drained away.
Were I a producer of TV sport coverage, I’d ban commentators and interviewers from saying “smashed it”. I’d insist my journalists delve deeper into their vocabularies and imaginations to find more vibrant ways to describe what they are seeing. I’d insist they emote instead of parroting pooped-out phrases.
From the reporter’s point of view, professional immortality, zeitgeist in the form of speech, can be achieved by adding a memorable soundtrack to the Herculean, heroic, or heart-breaking efforts the cameras have captured. Braying “smashed it” wins no BAFTA.
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Word of the week
Ideas, beliefs or feelings typical of a period in history. EG: “To lead is one thing, to set the zeitgeist is a higher rung”.
Read the latest Oh my word! every Saturday in The Courier. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org