Never give in.

Say what you want about the man, but Winston Churchill knew his way around the English language. His speech was deceptively simple at times, showing that one can still have a rapier wit without resorting to convoluted, obscure structure and vocabulary. Take, for example, some of his more quotable moments:

  • Upon being offered the Order of the Garter shortly after his 1954 defeat: “Why should I accept the Order of the Garter from His Majesty when the people have just given me the order of the boot?”
  • “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”
  • “Although always prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it should be postponed.”
  • “During my life I have often had to eat my own words and I have found them a wholesome diet.”

Since I’m not a historian, I’ve often found myself wondering about Churchill’s references, but never about his language, though to be fair, it’s not like I’ve actually read much of his work at all. Nevertheless, it surprised me when I found today’s Word of the Week in yet another Churchill quote:

“The United States is a land of free speech; nowhere is speech freer, not even here where we sedulously cultivate it even it is most repulsive forms.” Continue reading