Tuesday 24 November 2009

Distress signals

I have just been invited to pay £125 for a spa treatment which includes a "distressing scalp massage". Being a sensitive soul, I find the mispelling distressing enough on its own without paying £125 to be upset further.

Another two words which look similar but have opposite, or near-opposite meanings, are energise and enervate (which originally had something to do with cutting a horse's tendons, but now means to weaken, to destroy someone or something's capacity for vigorous effort). I was very distressed when I found Oliver James (or his editors) had used "enervate" throughout Affluenza to mean "energise" - I found it impossible to take any of his advice seriously after that.

A distressing scalp treatment


  1. I made the mistake of following your link to the spa. "Distressing" is not the only horror. "Especially" is misused (it means particularly or acutely, it doesn't mean for a special occassion. So "The third one was especially good", but "I dressed up specially"). "Vibrant" is rears its ugly mug. "Exclusive" sits around not having anything to do with exclude and... It's all too much.

  2. there is a tanning salon I pass every day that claims you should "look like a million dollars". I have to admit I don't find that prospect very appealing, so I assume they mean "look a million dollars". Although spending too long on their sunbeds might have you looking a little wrinkly, it shouldn't turn you green as well.

  3. Presumably they massage your scalp so hard that it removes your tresses. Perhaps they then oil your now-bald head to make it glisten.