October 9, 2017

Having observed media coverage of occasions wherein government agencies within Canada have blocked individual freedom of expression; further, where tittering and hyper-sensitivity seems destined to lead to further censorship, freedom-of-expression.ca proudly announces the creation of a new word to advance the  clear understanding, discussion and debate of matters relating to freedom of expression, public discourse and offense.  This neologism is “offendonym”.

Offendonyms are words or names which could generate vicarious offense as a result of sounding like words that are offensive to some people.  Offendonyms are, of course, nothing other than homonyms or heteronyms with the special characteristic of having generated offense to someone, somewhere.  While offendonyms are common tools of wit and comedy, they may also be unintentional juxtapositions of completely separate and unrelated matters.

In response to the launch of this neologism, one Canadian said, “There are many words we can’t say without generating genuine offense.  Now it seems there are words and names we can’t say for fear of vicarious offense. It seems we may only be left with cant.”


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