Is It Noth­inglitti or Noth­ingdabeli?

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

Noth­ing­burger, whether used as a sin­gle word, hy­phen­ated or even two, is re­gain­ing cur­rency in the US af­ter a long time, much like Jane Austen is back in cir­cu­la­tion in the UK thanks to the new £10 note. Con­sid­er­ing the US is the home­land of the patty-and-bun com­bi­na­tion, the neg­a­tive pre­fix should have guar­an­teed its fail­ure. But not only was it a favourite of au­thors, politi­cians and so­ci­ety gos­sip colum­nists up to the 1980s, it ap­pears to have been iron­i­cally re­vived in pop­u­lar dis­course thanks to the Trump Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pen­chant for new or lit­tle-used words. The term, of course, has noth­ing to do with burg­ers, but the al­lu­sion to that al­lAmer­i­can sta­ple pre­sum­ably en­sures a pop­u­lar con­nect when re­gur­gi­tated by politi­cians and the me­dia. The term, how­ever, may also find a sud­den res­o­nance in In­dia given that the def­i­ni­tion of the term is “some­thing of less im­por­tance than its treat­ment sug­gests”. The Indian po­lit­i­cal arena abounds with such phe­nom­ena at present that need suc­cinct terms. The noth­ing­burger could eas­ily in­spire Indian vari­ants such as a noth­inglitti — the beloved Bi­hari stuffed dough ball that if found to be bereft of a fill­ing, dis­ap­points afi­ciona­dos. Noth­ingdabeli, noth­ingsamosa, noth­ingka­chori or noth­ing­dosa would be equally evoca­tive when de­scrib­ing cer­tain shenani­gans in their parts of In­dia.

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