Intended for healthcare professionals

Editor's Choice

Minding our words

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 21 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i361

Garbage Verbiage

Words can obfuscate rather than communicate. Two examples are redundancies and oxymora. Redundancies distort reality with synonyms; while oxymora distort reality with antonyms. For example, redundancies include obsessive thoughts, compulsive behavior, hunger pangs, and childish games; while oxymora include open mind, free will, common courtesy, and common sense. As the building blocks of language, words can also create roadblocks to communication.

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 January 2016
Hugh Mann
New York, NY, USA