David Cameron is not for lurching. No lurch to the right, he says.
The word ‘lurch’ underscores commentary on the government’s difficulties; but what does it actually mean? As so often in these matters, Dot Wordsworth, our language correspondent, has a few erudite suggestions, one of which is this:
‘Lurching is a nicely pejorative word. A lurch could only be welcome accidentally. The word suddenly popped up in the 19th century. No one is known to have used it earlier than Byron in 1819, in Don Juan, where he contrives a Byronic rhyme: ‘A mind diseased no remedy can physic/ (Here the ship gave a lurch, and he grew sea-sick.’)’
The quotation is apt because the word’s origins are believed to be nautical. In which case, asks Dot, do lurchers lurch?Tags: Language, mind your language, Politics, sailing