OUPblog > Language > Word of the Year > Ten variations of ‘omnishambles’

Ten variations of ‘omnishambles’

By Alice Northover


Part of the strength of new words is their flexibility — that they can grow, change, and adapt. This elasticity helps cement their place in our language, rather than a brief life in slang. So to present omnishambles’s impact more fully, I’ve rounded up five variations upon it and proposed five additions of my own.

Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker, the character who originated the word omnishambles, in "The Thick of It." (c) BBC

Omnishambolic: Adjectival form of omnishambles. Citation: The Independent.

Romneyshambles: The disastrous visit of then presidential candidate Mitt Romney to the United Kingdom in July 2012. Citation: The Atlantic.

Energyshambles: A characterization of the UK government’s energy policy, following several u-turns and contradictory announcements. Citation: The New Statesman.

Euroshambles: A characterization of the Eurozone crisis (actually in use since at least 2000). Citation: The Economist.

Olympishambles: A scandal surrounding the London 2012 Olympic Games security contractor G4S as they lacked enough staff for the event, existing staff lacked qualifications and sufficient background checks, and they exploited unpaid workers at the Queen’s Jubilee with the promise of possible Olympic employment. Citation: BBC.

Ennuishambles: A condition during severe bouts of ennui when everything in life seems to have gone wrong as a consequence of affected detachment. Commonly found in people who studied French at university. (ennui + omnishambles)

Nomnishambles: Mental and physical lethargy following excessive consumption of food. (nom nom + omnishambles)

Somnishambles: The feeling of disorientation upon waking, often characterized by inability to recognize familiar surroundings. (somnium (Latin for dream; sleep) + omnishambles)

Commishambles: The failure to detect communists in your midst despite strenuous attempts. See: McCarthyism. (commie + omnishambles)

Feminishambles: The state of disorder advertisers imply women will be in without the purchase and use of their product. See: That Mitchell and Webb Look. (femina (Latin: woman) + omnishambles)

Any missing? Have your own ideas? Leave them below.

Alice Northover joined Oxford University Press as Social Media Manager in January 2012. She is editor of the OUPblog, constant tweeter @OUPAcademic, daily Facebooker at Oxford Academic, and Google Plus updater of Oxford Academic, amongst other things. You can learn more about her bizarre habits on the blog.

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2 Responses to “Ten variations of ‘omnishambles’”
  1. jill cook says:

    How about ‘lexishambles’? You can take a good idea too far making it meaningless. ‘meanishambles’ – I don’t think so…..

  2. Mark Fuller says:

    Ohh, you missed out my favourite; Omnivoreshambles, relating to the Badger Cull fiasco. Seen on Facebook a fortnight back, reported on the BBC website today as part of their piece on the Word Of The Year….

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