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Word of the Week: ‘fury’


In a new weekly feature, our wordsmiths take a closer look at the words and phrases that are trending online and in the media. This week: ‘fury’.

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‘Tyson Fury’ is without a doubt, the perfect name for someone whose job it is to reach new and professional levels of, well, fury. You really couldn’t make it up.

The word, and second name of one of Britain’s fiercest boxers (more illustriously known to fans as the Gypsy King) was back in the spotlight this weekend as he fought Deontay Wilder for the WBC heavyweight title. There was however, a lot of harumphing and, yes, you’ve guessed it, fury, over the result following a controversial split draw.

The visceral and emphatic word ‘fury’ skyrocketed on Google on 2 December at 6am, as millions of fans tuned in to watch the fight. It was also hashtagged furiously throughout the weekend.

It is interesting that a word, made search-worthy by such an unbelievably named boxing champion, coincidentally captured the mood felt by many in a country beleaguered by Brexit talks, politicians jumping ship and scaremongering. This is reflected in the national press, with ‘Brexit FURY’ (often capitalised) boldly littering tabloid headlines – particularly in The Express.

Fire and Fury

It is a word that brings to mind extreme, uncontrollable anger, especially when paired with the word ‘fire’, as in Michael Wolff’s scathing Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

The title references one of the many bizarre gibes exchanged between President Trump and Kim Jong Un earlier this year, out of which everyone’s favourite, “Little Rocket Man” insult was born. As tensions rose, Trump warned the North Korean leader that his country would kindly be met with “fire and fury”. Through signature pursed lips, a new national buzzword was made proliferate and Wolff’s exposé flew off the shelves.

‘Fury’ is not just a noun for an excess of emotion. In Greek mythology,  the plural form, ‘Furies’ is used to describe the three avenging deities, sent out to bring justice to those who committed crimes – and who, like Tyson Fury – could certainly pack a punch. Their warnings that a “catastrophe is coming from new ordinances” in The Eumenides may hold as much relevance now as it did in 500BC.

Roisin McCormack