May I have a word
The shifting patterns of English: hammering home a word’s true meaning No one, least of all my family and close friends, would deny that I am somewhat hidebound, stuck up to my nethers in mud. I mean, don’t get me started on the subject of mobile phones and the inability of so many of their owners not to comprehend that they are incapable of walking and using these devices at the same time.
Thus, when I see the word toolkit, it conjures up images of the contents of a red cantilevered box, containing hammers, various screwdrivers, bradawl, spanners (again various), sundry nails, screws and broken electric saw blades (no, I don’t know why either), and assorted oddly shaped pieces of plastic that probably came from a longdiscarded Black & Decker Workmate.
Alas, no longer. A recent report, on parents who won’t let their sons wear a skirt to school possibly being referred to social services, talked of “Brighton and Hove city council’s ‘trans inclusion schools toolkit’”.
Now, without wishing to get involved in the tangled issue of gender identity, I would just like to stick my crusty old arm over the parapet and stand up for toolkit’s proper meaning. Brighton and Hove council could just as easily have used the word advice and it would have had exactly the same meaning.
But the council is not alone. Consider the following:
• Building a direct work toolkit.
• Cerner Launching EHRIntegrated Opioid Toolkit for Safe Prescribing.
• Creating a Toolkit for Wellbeing: Part 1.
• Real Estate Balance introduces diversity “toolkit”.
OK, I’m old enough and wise enough to know when I’ve lost a battle. I shall retreat gracefully and look for my spirit level.
A toolkit in happier times.