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The ‘rip-off’ craze

How, when, and why has the phrase ‘rip-off’ managed to enter common lexis? A decade ago, only the seedier tabloids would dared have printed a headline with this kind of slang. But within the last few years, the Daily Mail has picked up ‘rip-off’ and run with it, creating the whole image of a ‘rip-off Britain’.

Today, however, the phrase seems to have gone one step further – and one-step too far in my opinion. The Independent today includes the headline:

Banks accused of rip-off charges for holidaymakers

That’s a broadsheet newspaper printing clichéd slang-laden headlines. Even the story’s pretty old: If you don’t know by now that the banks will try and over-charge you in every conceivable situation – especially when you’re doing something different like going on holiday – then you’re rather slower than the rest of us.

Understandably shocked by this development, I hurried off to check the Guardian and Times style guides. The latter says it is to be avoided, the former hasn’t stooped to including the phrase yet.

It seems the British broadsheet culture still has a pulse… though even I’ll admit that it’s fading fast.

This post was filed under: Media.

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