I’m talking about “ish.”
“ish” means neither yes nor no. It admits while admitting nothing. It agrees while reserving the right to disagree. It appears to condemn while allowing a backdoor escape hatch that leads straight to wholehearted approval. This versatility is why it is a favorite screwdriver in a politician’s tool-belt.
“I did not have sex with that woman. It was sex-ish.”
“I know there are weapons of mass destruction there. I have proof-ish.”
“Obamacare will be better-ish for 98.9%-ish of Americans.”
“We MUST make the border secure-ish immediately-ish! “
Add this bad boy to just about any utterance and you’ve got the holy grail of political speechifying: deniability.
“ish” is the backbone of Euphemish.
Euphemish noun \’yü-fə-mish\
a: A language, or dialect, featuring the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant.
Synonyms: Sugarcoat, spin, mislead, lie
Origin: from the Greek, euphēmos auspicious, sounding good.
With “ish”, you can CYA (cover your assets) when you:
- think something is POSSIBLY true
- are pretty sure it’s not even REMOTELY true
- do not want to be called out when it is revealed to epitomize the TOTAL ABSENCE OF true
- are sure IT IS true and are even more sure that most people DON’T WANT IT TO BE true
Unleash the power of “ish” in your life. Because in the immortal words of a very famous politician who I just made up:
They can’t nail you, if they can’t nail you down.
Charles Durning shows the art and science of doing a little sidestep in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”