The long and short of it

To cut a long story short, some abbreviations just get on my nerves. Others, like Tim, or Dot, are perfectly OK.

Maybe the ones that annoy me are the ones used by aficionados who want to foist their familiarity on to people who are not in the least interested. Take Strictly, for instance.

I am probably the only person who attempted to watch Strictly Come Dancing but had to turn it off to avoid being physically ill (sic). It’s not the dancing; it’s the fawning and the insincerity. So when someone calls it Strictly, I feel like throwing them, paso doble style, into the audience. But while that might be PD, it certainly wouldn’t be PC. So I don’t.

It all started when I first went out to work, and one of my older colleagues talked incessantly about getting a divvy. That had something to do with sport, I think. Now sportsmen can’t speak without using esoteric abbreviations.

Jenson Button (a man I admire greatly) doesn’t do very well in F1 qually (or is it quali?), but often achieves P1 during the actual race – which in case anyone is interested is actually not an abbreviation, but takes longer to say than “first”.

In this it achieves something close to the wonderful American abbreviation “GSW” for “gunshot wound”. This is much used in ER, where they are very pushed for time, but no-one seems to have noticed that it’s quicker to say “gunshot wound” than “GSW”. Try it.

That wonderful British TV programme Outnumbered was in the same area when it introduced a character called Mia, who was called Mimi “for short”. As the outraged wife pointed out, Mimi is longer than Mia, so why? Well, quite. Because it’s more endearing? Because of something private and intriguing? A secret relationship?

Perhaps it’s that idea of a secret relationship that makes my toes curl. The abbreviation often implies that the speaker has some exclusive deal with the thing being abbreviated. I mean, everyone knows who Man U is, don’t they?

Yes, I do, but is Manchester United that hard to say? Are we really that short of time? The man who reads the football results has now taken to using the phrase “Div One”. Oh, please. How ugly is that?

About as ugly as “hanky” for handkerchief. I would like to see that banned. But fridge is perfectly OK. I never said it was logical. And if you were going to ask, bus and phone are not abbreviations: they are words, which is why you never, never put apostrophes in front of them. Now don’t get me started on the pos.