By Kenneth Hudson
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Extra resources for A Dictionary of the Teenage Revolution and its Aftermath
Since World War II, however, the meaning of the word has been widened in two directions. As food and drink have become increasingly tasteless, the need to discover a dignified synonym for 'possessing little or no taste' became of vital commercial importance and 'bland' appeared to fill the bill admirably. Anything which is 'bland' makes no demands on the palate or the judgement but there is no suggestion of inferiority in the term. However, at the same time, 'bland' has moved into position as a term of criticism, often amounting to an insult.
Something excellent, immensely successful. An expression of American origin, confined to pop music fans and the journalists who serve them- 'Colosseum's new album "Valentine Suite" is a blowout' (advert in Friends, No. 3, Jan 1970). This meaning is paradoxical, since, in the case of tyres, fuses and oilwells, a blowout is far from being a token of success. But 'blow out', in the sense of a huge meal, one should note, is as British as steak and kidney pie, with a history that goes back to the days of William IV.
Energy, vigour. In its literal sense of 'testicles', this is a very old word and certainly not one to use at a Royal Garden Party. The figurative meaning seen in, 'He thought it needed more bollocks' (Sounds, 24 Jan 1981), 'it' being a recording, is recent, however, and appears, as yet, to be fully at home only in the worlds of pop music and sport. Bolthead. A very stupid person, a fathead. The adjective is associated with the appearance of Frankenstein, who has often been shown in films with a bolt through his neck and whose facial expression and body position suggest that his intelligence is minimal.
A Dictionary of the Teenage Revolution and its Aftermath by Kenneth Hudson