crash blossom

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From a headline "Violinist linked to JAL crash blossoms". The correct interpretation is that the violinist who blossoms was linked to the crash (by her father having been on the plane). The wrong interpretation is that the violinist is linked to something called a crash blossom.


crash blossom (plural crash blossoms)

  1. A sentence, often a news headline, that is subject to incorrect interpretation due to syntactic 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.”