back to article Orange launches new assault on English language

Not content with trying to foster mobification on us, Orange is at it again with smexting: the act of sending text messages while nipping out for a fag. In the two weeks following the workplace ban in England text traffic went up by seven and half million messages; to 519.5 million from 512 million in the last two weeks of July …


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  1. Adrian Waterworth

    I know these people...

    ...well, not personally, but I know the kind of person that comes up with these ridiculous neologisms. Anyone who has worked in the commercial IT sector (or any of its offshoots) will have met them. They're the kind of people who try to "proactively leverage synergies", who are obsessed with "getting our ducks in a row" and who will, with nary a by-your-leave, speak of "mobes" and "lappies" (yes, those).

    OK, so I know that languages are organic things that grow and evolve over time, but there are some new words and phrases that really do deserve to become the linguistic equivalent of the weird and short-lived critters that appeared around the time of the Cambrian explosion. In fact, "smexting" (and its ilk) is probably even more maladapted than Hallucigenia at al and should, therefore, retire to a quiet corner and die immediately.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Future is bright....

    The future is bollocks?

    OK not much of an advertising slogan but it does seem to be what Orange are good at.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Reminds me of those ludicrous Nissan Micra adverts which were based on hideous constructions like "spafe" (which Sigmund Freud - for which I have never forgiven him - informed us meant "spontaneous yet safe," though he failed to explain what could possibly be spontaneous about a car, let alone a Micra).

    I hereby coin my own word for these things: "portwankeau."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think you mean

    Clement Freud. Unless of course the eminant Sigmund came back to life just to talk uttocks (Utter Bollocks).

    Then again you could argue Sigmund talked Uttocks all the time anyway.

  5. tranquil

    re: Argh...

    I think you mean Clement Freud; getting Sigmund to do an advert would have been quite an achievement.

    And I'll forgive Clement Freud anything, even that dire set of ads.

  6. Chris Croughton

    Sigmund Freud?

    I rather doubt that Sigmund Freud was commenting on a Nissan Micra, he died rather a long time before it was invented. Possibly Clement Freud...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I think you mean Clement Freud"

    Doh!! Yes.

    It was a Freudian slip.

  8. Mike Banahan


    Obvious what you should call this kind of new coinage (and in truth pretty much anything that emanates from Orange's marketing folk), a 'fuckwitticism'

  9. Daniel Voyce


    Tends to happen a lot in Birmingham

    "Yo safe mate - got a spare cigarette?"

    "No - I don't smoke"

    "Give me your wallet" (occasionally accompanied by a punch in the face)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good One

    "It was a Freudian slip"

    A great, but strangely inevitable, comeback.

  11. Robin


    Does that also mean that the act of sending SMS whilst 'on the throne' is called 'shexting'?

  12. ian

    Why limit it to their marketing folk?

    Why limit the fuckwitticisms to Orange's marketing folk? It's endemic throughout the entire company (see Inigo Wilson for further idiocy)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Clearly these words are a joke at our expense. No person or organisation could produce such nonsense with a straight face. Please say that this is so.

    Nonetheless this story gives me an uneasy feeling, a feeling I have experienced before. It is the sensation of the watcher, when he realises that he is being watched.

    We observe Orange from behind a sheet of one-way mirror glass. But now Orange has turned its gaze to the one-way mirror, and it is looking directly at us. Perhaps it can see us; perhaps it is checking its hair. For the moment we cannot be sure.

    Perhaps we have made a mistake, or the lighting has changed. Perhaps we have awoken a sleeping giant.

    I cannot shake the feeling that there is a third party observing both of us; observing Orange, in the cell, and ourselves, observing Orange.

  14. Smallbrainfield

    French owned company

    in attempt to subvert English language shocker. Le blue jeans indeed.

  15. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Hallucigenia at al

    There are precious few examples of human fossils from just a million or so years ago. To appear in the record from five hundred times further back suggests a real evolutionary success story. I doubt smexting will last more than a month.

    Still, to its credit, it has found a slow news day in the middle of the silly season and exploited it to the fullest.

  16. Paddy

    Re: Cmnts n 'Orng lnchs nw aslt n nglsh lngg

    Sometime in the near future,

    In the morning, greeting a friend

    Mr X: Hy mn, hru?

    Mr Y: Dn fn, n u?

    In the coffee shop

    Mr A: wt wd u hv 2de?

    Mr B: cpcno, plz

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ban them now - before its too late

    "smexting" & "smirting" should be banned from ever apearing on The Register ever again!!!

  18. gautam

    Nothing French here

    More like the Yanks inventing new marketing gimmicks. Few years ago I came across "Mallingering" !

    You guessed it, linger in the mall, when youth had nothing else to do, yet "just Kicking". Equivalent French, anyone?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Why limit it to their marketing folk?

    "Why limit the fuckwitticisms to Orange's marketing folk? It's endemic throughout the entire company (see Inigo Wilson for further idiocy)"

    Why limit it to just that? This kind of bullshit is endemic throughout the entire mobile industry (I worked for four years at o2 and have now spent two years at a Vodafone SP), where "buzzwords" are deemed more important than providing clear information and a better service to customers.

  20. Karl Lattimer

    Can't we take our 'mobe' language implants from nokia instead

    at least nokia is a finnish company, and as such uses logical language constructs rather than arcane romantic ones.

    I'm also totally with Smallbrainfield on this one, I think I might be sending a courriel to la Orange marketing droids over this

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Cmnts n 'Orng lnchs nw aslt n nglsh lngg

    Paddy - I believe the exchange goes like this:

    Man 1: F U N E X?

    Man 2: S V F X

    Man 1: F U N E M?

    Man 2: S V F M

    Man 1 : OK H M X 4 2

    I think that comes from a Professor Branestawm book by Norman Hunter which predated TXTSPK by a large number of years

  22. Lloyd


    I say we put our foot down, Orange are owned by France Telecom and we all know how touchy the frogs get about "Le Franglais". Stop this Frorange gibberish now (in fact stop using the over priced, under staffed, no signalled garlic munchers completely, if the ask why then cite their surrender in WWII as a good enough reason).

  23. Ole Juul

    "In the two weeks following the workplace ban in England ..."

    Is uneployment now legislated at 100%, or do Englishmen all work from home?

  24. Rich Kavanagh

    They can smuck off.

    Any made up word that begins with "sm" should be burned alive at the stake along with the idiots at orange who thought up this travesty.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I think that comes from a Professor Branestawm book by Norman Hunter"

    It's a Two Ronnies sketch. I'm not sure of its provenance but I can't believe Ronnie Barker would have nicked such material when it's the sort of thing he was so good at himself.

    "stop using the over priced, under staffed, no signalled garlic munchers completely, if the ask why then cite their surrender in WWII as a good enough reason"

    Good grief.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    origins of Smirting

    Smexting is a Orange creation, but smirting is an older failed neologism.

    Radio DJs and the like attempted to foist it on the Irish public following the smoking ban two years ago. Unsurprisingly, it died a death, and I thought I'd never see/hear it again. Until now. thanks, reg... ;)


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