The current obsession with "Gone Missing"

Robert Hartwell Fiske Vocabula at AOL.COM
Sun Jun 7 20:39:43 UTC 2009

"Gone" or "went missing" is, today, increasily heard and read (even the
oleaginous among you should agree to this). More to the point, this idiom, like
so many others, is -- and this was, or was meant to be, my main point --
not an exacting expression. It appeals to people who apparently cannot bother
with expressing themselves carefully or clearly.

* The boy went missing Monday, the day after his birthday. USE disappeared.

* In heavily Democratic Fulton County, in downtown Atlanta, 67 memory cards
from the voting machines went missing, delaying certification of the
results there. USE were misplaced.
* When a $250,000 boat went missing while docked at the foot of Grand
Street in Alameda, police seemed lost at sea. USE was stolen.
* A large and potentially hazardous asteroid that went missing for almost
66 years ago was re-discovered by astronomers on Wednesday morning. USE was
*  Fifteen people aboard the ship reportedly went missing. USE were
* Many went missing after joining the militant groups, while others
disappeared after being picked up by security forces for questioning. USE deserted.

*  The prisoner went missing around lunchtime, but prison staff did not
notice his absence until early evening. USE absconded.
* She's a grown woman, and reasonable people can and should understand
that, if they are going to go missing, they are going to cause public outcry.
USE disappear.

>From the Dictionary of Disagreeable English by Robert Hartwell Fiske

Robert Hartwell Fiske
Editor and Publisher
The Vocabula Review
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