I introduce this little screenshot of Google news in order to make a humble request to reporters and headline writers: open your thesaurus.
In the coming days, Saddam Hussein will hurl abuse at the court, show disrespect to the judge, and generally act like a pain-in-the-ass. But resist the urge to call him “defiant.” Please.
Thesaurus.com offers a few alternatives, some better than others. “Insolent” and “recalcitrant” work well, though headline writers might rebel. “Contumacious”? How the hell did that one get in there? “Ballsy” is excellent, though it has an unfortunate hint of admiration. “Sassy” is even better.
As usual, nothing beats Roget’s. I can’t believe thesaurus.com missed these beauties: “brazen,” “saucy,” “cheeky,” “bumptious,” “cocky.” All these deserve to be appended to Saddam’s name.
But “defiant”? Yawn.