The “squeezed middle”

Russell Brown has his own Word of the Year contest. The UK has Oxford Dictionary choosing theirs.

Phil Goff nicked the idea from Ed Miliband in the UK, it was naff there and it was naff here. But in the UK Oxford Dictionary has named “squeezed middle” as their word of the year.

Andrew Sullivan highlights what Geoffrey K. Pullum says against “squeezed middle,” routinely used by the UK Labour Party, and of course by NZ labour and Phil Goff:

[M]y real objection is not to the feebleness and blatantly political origin of this phrase (which ordinary people are simply not using), but to the fact that it is fully compositional: squeezed just means “squeezed”, and middle just means “middle”, and if you put the two together you have the literal meaning. It is ridiculous to think of putting this in a dictionary — as opposed to a collection of political phraseology and cliché.

I wonder how long before we see a speech from David Shearer bleating about the “squeezed middle”?


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  • Tom K

    They are out of touch with the ‘middle’. They dont understand their dreams and aspirations……