Consciously Uncoupling The Language

I doubt that Gwyneth Paltrow was thinking much about her contribution to the English language when she announced her split from husband Chris Martin this week.

But by declaring that they were going to ‘consciously uncouple’, a new language phenomenon was born. Reams of copy about what conscious uncoupling truly means, social media hilarity as people put their own spin on the term referring to any kind of disengagement, cynicism over what it will do for book sales for therapist Katherine Woodward Thomas and her programme of the same name.

So will conscious uncoupling become a mainstream and established term for splitting up? No. But it is very likely to have a future as a term which is used ironically in break-up stories for years to come. You can easily imagine it appearing in inverted commas to give context to other stories, as a gauge of how amicable or otherwise a split seems in comparison to the Paltrow-Martin split.

We are not going to be able to consciously uncouple away from it any time soon.

One thought on “Consciously Uncoupling The Language

  1. Ed @ Lexicolatry

    While I was typing a comment on my phone, autocorrect kept trying to change it to “conscious upcoupling”. Is that a thing? Could it be a thing? It seems to make as much sense as “conscious uncoupling”, which is just dripping with armchair psychology euphemism.

    It’s silly, pretentious, and I don’t like it. So why am I one of the multitude that’s feeding it by discussing it? Grr! We’re giving it life!

    (very interesting post, by the way) : o )

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