Sunday, August 03, 2014

'pre-owned'

While driving in my car today, I heard an ad about used cars on my radio. As you know, these ads never refer to used cars as used cars. They are "pre-owned" vehicles. It is a euphemism that has persisted in the commercial lexicon for many years.

Pre-owned.

Not used. (After all, "used" is so yucky.)

Pre- is so much more pristine, clean, uncluttered, soiled. Free of the human stain.

Pre- ... as in pre-married, pre-divorced, pre-born, pre-dead, pre-speech, pre-virginal, pre-post-virginal, pre-rented, pre-leased, pre-expired, pre-vent (as in just before you vent and blow your top), pre-depression, pre-mania, pre-tiredness, pre-monition (as in just before you load your verbal guns), pre-disowned, pre-surrender, pre-diction (see above), pre-principle, pre-moral, pre-sin, pre-cept (an in just before you say "but"...).

The list is pre-endless.

(Note: my copyeditor self would typically drop the hyphen and "use" solid words, but this pre-obsession is pre-tty hard to pre-stop and the use of hyphens allows for more pre-wordplay.)

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