Crash Blossoms – A Wonderful English Quirk! 

Have you ever read a newspaper headline and thought “hang on a minute!”? Did you ever have to look again? Or even, taken 5 minutes to figure out what the author wants you to understand?

The annoying necessity of having to look twice at a newspaper headline has existed since the invention of the printed word! Well, almost.

Despite that, it didn’t have a name until a few years ago when an eagle-eyed copy editor named Mike O’Connell found this little gem in a Japanese newspaper;

“Violinist Linked to JAL Crash Blossoms”

If one understands the word ‘blossoms’ as a noun and not as the intended verb, one could be left wondering “what the hell is a crash blossom?’. The article was in fact describing the blooming career of a Japanese violinist whose father had died in a plane crash a while earlier.

The term was then coined to describe double take newspaper headlines and quickly spread, now being used almost routinely to put a name to those real head scratchers! As a tribute to their brilliance, here are some real clangers!

“Patrick Stewart surprises fan with life threatening illness!”

“One-armed man applauds kindness of strangers.”

“Students gain first hand job experience.”

“Tiger hides his tale!” (Referring to Tiger Woods)

“Starvation can lead to health problems.”

“Hospitals resort to hiring doctors.”

Hopefully, no-one was fired because of those!

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