Chop this “word” into oblivion, please

Never underestimate the ability of headline writers to create linguistic abominations.

Tight headline counts have given us such ugly permutations as solons (for legislators), hikes and ups (for increases), eyes (for considers), nips (for narrowly defeats), nabs (for arrests) and – you get the idea.

No matter how many times you drive a stake through the heart of these beasts, they keep rising from the dead and gurgling in mouthfuls of telegraphic nonsense:

Solons mull tax hikes, nix biz probe after flap in p.m. confab

Here’s one more “word” to add to the vocabulary of the undead: AX as an abbreviation for accident.

My wife passed along the example above last week from the Topeka Capital-Journal.

It certainly fits in with the abbreviation culture that permeates the digital world. I found references to AX or ax back to 2002 on chat sites, but where its use originated, I don’t know.

It seems to have spread like a pox among TV websites in the last couple of years (post-Twitter, of course).

The strangest part of its use is that these sites aren’t restricted by space, other than the 60 counts most aim for as part of a search engine optimization strategy. Rather, they seem to have embraced ax as an ugly emblem of the Internet age.

Personally, I’m waiting for some gem like this:

Solon eyes end as ax probe runs its course

As an antidote to lousy usage, I’d suggest listening to the storytelling of Warren Zevon. This is Bruce Springsteen’s version of the Zevon song “My Ride’s Here.” (The accompanying graphics are a bit hokey, but the sound quality is good.) Then again, if you’d like to stick with the supernatural theme I started earlier in this post, I’d recommend “Werewolves of London.”

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