crash blossom

From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From a headline "Violinist linked to JAL crash blossoms". The author's intended interpretation is that the violinist who blossoms was linked to a plane crash (by her father having been on the plane). However, the sentence can also be interpreted to mean that the violinist was linked to something called a "crash blossom".


crash blossom (plural crash blossoms)

  1. (linguistics) A sentence, often a news headline, that is subject to incorrect interpretation due to syntactic and/or lexical ambiguity.
    • 2010, Ben Zimmer, Crash Blossoms, New York Times:
      Nouns that can be misconstrued as verbs and vice versa are, in fact, the hallmarks of the crash blossom. Take this headline, often attributed to The Guardian: “British Left Waffles on Falklands.”