Daily Moan #17: Centre and epicentre

A joke. Q. where's the dead centre of Brighton? A. The cemetery! Ba dum bump ching! I've never been happy with the modern use of centre, as in Youth Centre, Health Centre or Shopping Centre. In Hove there's a place called a Trial Centre. We used to call them Courts, but presumably the people most likely to use them might get confused by the tennis courts down the road? Libraries are now called things like learning resource centres, to reflect that they rarely lend out books these days. Why have one simple word when you can have two or more? Boring old museums are sexed up with names like Thinktank, but I digress.

Because the word 'centre' has become meaningless, TV news reporters like to use the word 'epicentre' instead, as in 'Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism'. Now, this has a specific meaning: because earthquakes often happen underground, the epicentre describes the place on the surface immediately above the real centre. Well, this may have symbolic meaning, as it is the place where most damage occurs, but mostly it is being misused.

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