Top 5 adjective-noun clichés

Veritable smorgasbord
Is there such a thing as an unverifiable smorgasbord? Can anyone certificate them, or is there a recognised Swedish buffet industry body?

Glittering array
Arrays can glitter, I admit, if they are made up of shiny objects moving in relation to a light source, but they do not sparkle per se. A quick Google search suggests that you can have a glittering array of mineral collectors, celebrity chefs and latino community leaders. I've never met a mineral collector or a latino community leader, but I've met at least five celebrity chefs and I guarantee you that Jamie, Ainsley, Anthony, Gary and Gordon are as matte as fish paste.

Leafy suburb
It isn't a tautology to talk about leafy suburbs, but it's bloody close. It's a bit like describing a cat as furry. We all know there are hairless cats out there (sphynxes, they're called) but it is safe to assume that cats have fur unless otherwise stated. The only reason suburbs are described as "leafy" is beacuse writers are too lazy to come up with any insightful imagery.

Countless millions
Trumped in playground arguments only by the word "infinity", "countless millions" is just a meaningless euphemism for "really big". It is supposed to aggrandise the noun to which it is attached, but it achieves the opposite by belittling the speaker, who clearly doesn't know what he is talking about.

Designer jewellery
Much like an engineered car or an oven-baked souffle, the adjective is redundant because without it the noun could not exist. If jewellery appeared spontaneously like shit in an elephant house I could understand, but as with clothing and spectacles a designer is a sine qua non. "Designer" is a word used by retailers to draw a false distinction between products inspired by an artist's vision and clobber created because there is a market for it. Don't believe them: all innovation in retail is commercially-driven. The only difference is whether the designer is paid in gold bars or animal feed.

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2 Responses to “Top 5 adjective-noun clichés”

  1. Tom L Says:

    Does “Almost unique” count?

  2. pouletnoir Says:

    Almost unique is tautological – although I use it sometimes in an ironic sense (ie to convey that something is not, contrary to its pretensions, unique).

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