24 May 2011

Le Mot Juste

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The Daily Mail reports that the British police have chosen a bit of Punjabi slang from the Imperial attic to be used as the code word for the American president during his state visit.

More than one person has wanted to call Barack Obama a ‘smart alec’, and now British police will get the chance to do so without getting reprimanded.

That’s because Scotland Yard has tapped the codename ‘Chalaque’ to refer to the U.S. president for security reasons during his upcoming state visit to the United Kingdom May 24-26.

Indarjit Singh, a Punjabi speaker in the UK who is director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, told the Sunday Times the word ‘is sometimes used when we want to denigrate someone who we think is too clever for their own good’.

Another Punjabi speaker told the paper the word Chalaque is ‘not considered rude’, but could be ‘mildly offensive’.

It is also said to mean ‘cheeky, crafty and cunning’.

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SDD

“Too clever by half” is the British expression, I believe.



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