Word of the day: irenic

This adjective means “tending to promote peace or reconciliation; peaceful or conciliator’. So why do I choose to highlight the word now?

It’s because the frontrunner for the leadership of the Conservative Party and the post of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just used the word in the latest hustings with members of the Conservative Party who have the vote in the leadership election, as reported in this extract from a story in the “Guardian” newspaper:

Johnson got the loudest applause of the hustings by saying he would take a different approach to the negotiations than May had done. He claimed to be an “irenic person” and in favour of dialogue but argued that “a little bit more resolve is called for and a little bit more sense that we can actually get this done”

Ignoring for the moment the absurdity that a bit more resolve and a little bit more sense could change the fundamentals of the negotiations on Brexit, why is Boris using a word like ‘irenic’ – which at least 9 out of 10 of his audience would not understand – to seek votes?


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