Key Advice Blog

What is the plain language meaning of ‘snub’?

Posted on: 24/09/2009

The media are throwing the word ‘snub’ around using all the weight of the innuendo to push ‘rumours’ about President Obama reportedly refusing meeting requests from Prime Minister Brown at this week’s UN council meetings in the US.

Snub means to be rejected unkindly or contemptuously, according the Oxford dictionary. But, this seems unlikely (to me) at a UN summit where being kind wins big points! However, rumours often morph into news at large events, where an army of news agents are pitted against an army of PR staff. Interestingly, this is not the first time ‘snub’ has appeared with Obama and Brown’s name in headlines about meetings. And, Brown is in good company; it seems Hilary Clinton was once ‘snubbed by Obama’.

And as the hours ticked away, it escalated from ‘reports of snubs’ to ‘snubfest’ and ‘snubgate’ is probably being inked as I write this.

For a small word, snub packs a big punch. With it come unsaid words and hinted at meanings of worth. And the questions of fact vs fiction and headlines that sell float to the surface, whilst the plain truth about the situation, and its relevance to readers – and the world – drown in conjecture.  And, all this from an unnamed diplomat.

Hopefully it is plain for all to see that one word does not tell the whole story, just like one spice does not flavour an entire dish. And, equally as clear, that a single element can be deceiving.

Let’s all choose our words – each and every one – carefully, for the world needs unity much more than disunity. Let’s be plain.

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