Signs of the times

I like to think that I have a pretty extensive English vocabulary, but all that time at home in lockdown wondering what new to write about the Coronavirus must have sent journalists to their online thesauruses (thesauri?) for a bit of variety. Today, I came across two words I had to look up:

  • Fomites: things that can carry infection other than people. OK: a technical term – I’m happy with that!
  • Immiserate: to make miserable or impoverished. This one ought to be strangled at birth. (Even worse, I’m offered the alternate immiserize – invented by G Bush Jnr perhaps?)

I was also amused by this in The Telegraph‘s report of the new head of MI5:


What do you reckon – someone working from home with an office cat and poor attention to detail, or a secret message only cryptographers can decipher?

(My cat Sid doesn’t type much, but unerringly pads over the F12 key and turns airplane mode on, with predictably baffling consequences.)