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Pet Peeves

Flush the Flushing

Pet peeves. We’ve all got them.

In fact, to some of you, the expression “pet peeve” may be one of them. But don’t tell that to Merriam-Webster. I digress.

As a former student of journalism and lover of language, many of my peeves were born of use, overuse, or misuse of words, phrases and expressions.

To tell you the truth… Ugh. That’s one for another day.

But yes, so… To “flush out”. As in, “Once we have the time to flush out the details, we’ll get back in touch on next steps.”

…no, no, no, NO, NO!

Why must so many otherwise intelligent people misuse this expression? Sure, “flush out” is an expression, and sure it does make sense in some circumstances.

In the literal sense, for example, like “Before it gets too cold, I need to flush out the gutters with a hose”. Or, in the similarly directed figurative sense like, “As fear began to creep in, he pulled himself together, and flushed out the negative thoughts from his mind.”

Sure, fine. This works. Do it, if you must. Although, I probably won’t.

We’re talking elaboration (syn.) here. Filling in the gaps of incomplete thoughts with substance. Transforming an outline into prose. Taking a skeletal framework and fleshing out the details. Or taking a literal skeleton diorama and fleshing it out with actual flesh.

“We’re going to flesh it out, people!” Come on, now! Say it with me.

“Once we have the time to flesh out the details, we’ll get back in touch on next steps.”

Fleshed out skeleton
Photo by Nhia Moua on Unsplash

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