Friday, 30 October 2009


Vibrant 1.
Moving or quivering rapidly; vibrating. 2. Of sound, the voice: Characterized by or exhibiting vibration; resonant. Hence Vibrancy, the condition or quality of being vibrant.
   - Oxford English Dictionary

Vibrant: Vibrating: Thrilling: Resonant
   - Chambers

And here are some precise-phrase searches from Google:
"Vibrant community" 628,000 results
"Vibrant communities" 144,000 results
"Vibrant multicultural" 26,100 results
"Vibrant diverse" 35,200 results
"Vibrant" in UK news sources in the last week: 1,478 results
I wouldn't mind in the slightest if the word actually meant something, anything. I don't fret at people talking about the bonnet of a car because I know what the bonnet of a car is. The only really vibrant communites I can think of are Los Angeles during an earthquake and the Quakers.
Whilst wondering what precisely I would like to do to any journalist who so much as thinks about using the word vibrant to describe anything other than a vibrator or an electric toothbrush, I was inexplicably reminded of a passage in Gibbon describing the neo-platonist philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria:
Hypatia was torn from her chariot, stripped naked, dragged to the church, and inhumanly butchered by the hands of Peter the Reader and a troop of savage and merciless fanatics: her flesh was scraped from her bones with sharp oyster-shells and her quivering limbs were delivered to the flames.
Go on, tell me something's vibrant.

1 comment:

  1. Again, not sure how much of the above was said tongue in cheek, but the marvellous malleability of the English language means that its words evolve and change their meanings. Cool, or wicked, or doublethink. It's not too much of a jump from a vibrating string that hums with life and activity to a similarly vibrant community.