'Gaslighting' and other trendy phrases idiots use and get wrong

DO you like to sprinkle your conversation with contemporary phrases, but get them wrong and sound like an idiot? Here are some to avoid.


An attempt to make someone doubt their whole reality, as in the play Gas Light, but used as a pretentious way of saying ‘lying’. Boris Johnson isn’t gaslighting anyone, he’s just a brazen liar who would say he’s in bed with your girlfriend to check the mattress is comfy enough for you.  

‘I could care less’

An Americanism which makes far less sense than the correct version ‘I couldn’t care less’. Why say this when you wouldn’t describe a trip to Tesco as: ‘I went to the store to pick up some groceries but there were no cheese and onion chips, goddam it.’

‘Stay home’

Or in British English: ‘stay AT home’. Thanks to Covid, the government is fond of this one, as if American phrasing will stop them looking like headless chickens with an interest in cronyism and instead like a well-trained SWAT team in a film. Their next slogan may well be ‘GO GO GO!’.

‘Towing the line’ instead of ‘toeing the line’

Not exactly trendy, but common right now. It’s lose-lose if you type this. It either implies you think everything must be a nautical phrase and are probably wrong about brass monkeys too, or the only thing you read is internet comments full of bad English. You undoubtedly think that someone who repeatedly fails in life is a ‘looser’. 


‘Socialist’ has a variety of legitimate meanings, but right-wing types are trying to make it into a pejorative term, as in the US. Okay, it would be time-consuming to say ‘Anything that’s a bit liberal or leftish I don’t agree with and that includes transgenderism and free school meals’, but at least it would be honest.

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Five ways Matt Hancock will totally f**k up the vaccination

EXPERTS say the UK could return to normality by Easter if we don’t screw up the vaccine rollout. Here’s how Matt Hancock will screw up the vaccine rollout.

Leave it until it’s too late

Staying true to form, Hancock will fail to learn from our European neighbours as they order the Pfizer vaccine in shedloads. Instead he’ll drag his heels for weeks then appear astonished when it’s run out. If only there was some way this could have been predicted?

Get useless Tory cronies to do it

Instead of leaving the vaccine rollout to NHS doctors or local authorities, Matt will give control of the process to a dubious company called VaxxiPro that sprung up a fortnight ago and has a tiny warehouse in Essex. And whose MD, purely coincidentally, is a Tory party donor.

Only purchase tiny quantities

Screwing up the vaccine is a great opportunity to lower the proles’ expectations for the NHS. If communities are forced to pull together and make homemade remedies from Night Nurse capsules and Calpol it will get them ready for what the NHS will be like post-Brexit.

Fundamentally misunderstand vaccines

After zoning out while Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance walk him through the rollout with the help of dreary slides, Hancock will vaccinate the population in a hopelessly piecemeal way, leaving Covid to run amok. Then he’ll use the inevitable third lockdown to do the same again but with a glitchy app.

Do a seemingly decent job for one day then call it quits

Having made ambitious claims about how many people will be vaccinated per day on Sky News, Hancock will fudge the numbers before admitting only 150 people have been treated. Expected vaccination numbers will plummet and the Nightingale hospitals will be converted into KFCs.