A few years ago I wrote about the word “shock” used as an attributive noun, meaning “shocking” — as in shock survey, shock victory, shock election results, etc. It’s fairly common in the British press, but at the time I could find only one U.S. use and labeled it “On the Radar.” But I’ve seen quite a few examples over the past few months. I didn’t write them down, but I’m pretty sure they were all in New York Times sports coverage, as was this one, just published by tennis writer Christopher Clarey, in reference to newly crowned U.S. Open champ Iga Swiatek:
I therefore upgrade “shock” to full-fledged NOOB.
8 thoughts on ““Shock,” Updated”
I’d always assumed this got into English as a calque from Russian, udarnik / shock worker.
Do Americans ever use ‘shock horror’? https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/448378/origin-of-the-interjection-shock-horror
For those addicted to 5-letter online word puzzles: – shock, train, plumb, wedgy, – are complimentary guesses, as there is no duplication of a letter. If you know of other complimentary groups of four words, please let me know.
We do not.
Is it likely “shock” just evolved from a need to save space in newspaper headlines? Or is there some nuanced difference in meaning between “shock” and “shocking” I’m missing?
When this was discussed on Lynne Murphy’s Separated by a Common Language blog, there was a feeling that “shock” meant a surprise and “shocking” meant something unpleasant.
I don’t have any evidence, but I’m sure it comes from newspaper-speak. Even now this sort of usage carries a whiff of the tabloids.
In English usage it more often means surprising than shocking.