Choked up over ‘full-throated’

Chris Christie

Chris Christie’s comments tend to be full-throated

I recently indulged in a little rant about unimaginative reporters who seem to think “hunkering down” is the only way to prepare for a hurricane. Today I came across an article that pricked another of my pet linguistic peeves — “full-throated.”

I don’t remember exactly when a reporter or news anchor first used the adjective “full-throated” to describe an enthusiastic, all-out, and loud verbal endorsement of something, but it seems to me the usage is only a few years old. The first few times I heard it, it sounded fresh and original. A new way to emphasize how hearty and enthusiastic something was. “Full-throated” was something verbal and loud — a shout, a yell, a bellow, a roar. It puts me in mind of a pack of hounds baying in hot pursuit of a fleeing fox.

Unfortunately, like “hunkering down” for hurricanes, “full-throated” seems to have become the only way some reporters know to describe remarks that are loud, enthusiastic, hearty, heartfelt, intense, earnest, sincere, unqualified, etc. Worse, the article I saw shows that now someone thinks “full-throated” can describe something nonverbal:

But the draft of the Democratic Party platform stopped short of lending a full-throated endorsement of the bill …

Stay tuned. With the political campaigns ramping up and only two months until the election, you can bet everything the pols say and do will be “full-throated.”



Categories: language

6 replies

  1. I think that it originated with fox-hunting or some other sort of hunting… when the hounds sniffed the prey they went into their “full-throated” baying and the hunters would know that the chase was on. So it’s not just the noise, but it’s the prequel to something exciting, like tearing a poor little fox limb from limb….

    • As far as I’m concerned, it can go back from whence it came. It was a colorful new way to describe human behavior when someone first used it that way. But it ceased to be interesting when every reporter on the planet started using it, often to the virtual exclusion of any other adjective. I’m tired of cringing every time I hear it and am ready for it to go away.

  2. Methinks thou dost protest mistakenly, PT. I hath seance’d with Bill Shakespeare in his bunker in Bradbury Landing on Mars and he sayeth that it be a malapropism. (He has strives to keep up with linguistic evolution thru ESP.) Forsooth, he blameth it on the intensity of the profession of Inky Wretches, its nature being one not of studied contemplation but rather of deadlines.

    Journalism is literature in a hurry. – Matthew Arnold

  3. Never heard of that saying. Rather reminds me of “full throttle”

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." ~ Edmund Burke

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