Crash Blossom

bibliolept

Senior Member
AE, Español
Term: Crash Blossom


Your definition or explanation: A headline that has been edited so severely that it can be understood in multiple ways, leading to some humorous or puzzling meanings.


Example:
Reading AP headlines will make one wonder if some crash blossoms aren't actually purposefully perpetrated.


One or more places you have seen the term:

One of my favorite crash blossoms is this gem from the Associated Press, first noted by the Yale linguistics professor Stephen R. Anderson last September: “McDonald’s Fries the Holy Grail for Potato Farmers.”
Ben Zimmer, "Crash Blossoms," On Language Column, , The New York Times January 27, 2010


Have you looked for this term or meaning in dictionaries, and not found it? YesExamples listed in the article include:

  • “Violinist Linked to JAL Crash Blossoms” - An article about a relative of a victim of the crush succeeding as a musician, this title is the origin of the phrase.
  • “British Left Waffles on Falklands”
  • “Giant Waves Down Queen Mary’s Funnel”
  • “MacArthur Flies Back to Front”
  • “Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim”
  • “Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge"
One mention of crash blossoms in the Language Log blog cites this example: "White House Says Bears Part of Blame for Senate Loss"
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Here is the title of the January 3, 2010 column of headsup: the blog, whose specialty is commenting on heds (headlines):
    Crash blossoms: Care and feeding

    [The example discussed is 2009 Homicides, the headline of a story that appeared in the Chicago Tribune early in January]​
    "Crash blossom" is discussed as a neologism in Testycopyeditors.org on Aug. 18, 2009. The discussion begins with the headline bibliolept cites in his post “Violinist Linked to JAL Crash Blossoms”.

    Edit: Deletion.
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top