Since when was "slain" more PC then killed?

I understand where my local news commercials are coming from, trying not to disrespect those that died for whatever reason. But slain just sounds silly to me. Maybe it’s because the only other time I’ve ever heard it is when it describes what happened to an unlucky dragon.

I haven’t noticed. But “slain” carries a connotation of “killed by someone,” whereas “killed” could be caused by human or accident. So I don’t think they’re exact synonyms - maybe your sources are just trying to be clearer.

(And “murdered” implies criminality, whereas “slain” could be a war victim.)

Curiously, I hear “died” in the news these days when “killed” or “slain” would obviously be much closer to the mark.

First, I wish people would quit using “PC” when all they mean is “acceptable in a given context.” The word “slain” has nothing whatsoever to do with what is usually thought of as “politically correct” terminology. It’s a word used in newspaper headlines (and occasionally other news situtations) but hardly any place else these days, and it’s been used in that way for decades, perhaps for the past century. There are several other words like “slain” that are seldom seen except in newspaper headlines (and rarely in newspaper and TV news stories). It’s not clear why this has happened. Perhaps sometimes there was only room for five characters and not six, so the headline writers used “slain” instead of “killed.” Perhaps they didn’t want to use the same words all the time in their headlines and decided it would be nice to use “slain” occasionally instead of “killed.” In any case, it’s used only in news situations.

I always thought they were trying to make it sound more dramatic.

I usually hear it with reference to police officers or other people of authority. I always assumed it harkens back to medievil times like slaying a dragon, etc


Local pols vie for cabinet post
Feds nab drug lorg
Cops bust deer headlighting ring
Mayor lauds compromise effort, blasts partisanship
Busing foe grills mayoral contenders
East Siders tell of school woes
Council members in tax hike fray after accord fails
Joint committee inks water pact
Sheriff eyes youths at water tower
Jones opts for auditor nomination
McKendrick blasts (or “raps” or “hits”) project supervisor

Usually you see it in headlines or as applied to “Slain Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” The guy has a really long name.

I imagine you see it in headlines because it’s shorter and does imply “killed by a person” instead of just “killed”. Also it’s much shorter than “assassinated”.

These sort of words that are used almost only in headlines are called “headlinese.” I’ve just done a quick search and can’t find a webpage with a long list of examples. Does someone know of such a list online or in a book?

I don’t think it necessarily has anything to do with “PC”. There’s a subset of odd word choice commonly used in newspaper headlines, some obviously for brevity, other for reasons that are unclear. This is how you end up with headlines like “Tot slain after spat, says chief”. There are better examples but I can’t think of them right now.

Or you could just look at post #7 :smack: .

“Compete” is always transformed to “vie”. “Consider” is always transformed to “eye”. A problem is always a “woe”. “Criticize” is always “blast”. A child is always a “tot”.

After a while it get irritating, especially when editors repeatedly choose combinations of polysemous words to create phrases that end up having totally different meanings than intended. You would think that an editor with 15 years of experience would know better than “Iraqi Head Seeks Arms” but you see this stuff all the time.

At first I thought you were being a dick.

Doesn’t he realise that the op is talking about “PC” as in personel computers? And that the OP is about PC gamers “slaying” their oponents rather than “killing” them?

Then I read the OP again :D.