“Euro” as a prefix

Prefixing something with “Euro” in English is often intended as a negative connotation. Unlike the positive nuances it can give on the Continent.

Perhaps this is largely down to the influence of the UK’s tabloid press. Not necessarily opinions I would agree with, of course. Here are a few examples:

  • Eurocrat = a pen-pushing desk jockey in Brussels, seen as trousering large quantities of taxpayers’ cash while promoting red tape.
  • Eurospeak = the somewhat mangled alternative meanings that are used in European circles for various terms (within the EU in particular); not necessarily meant pejoratively in that sense. But when the tabloids use the term, it tends to refer to double-facedness by Eurocrats.
  • Eurotrash = derogatory term for nouveau riche Europeans (expats living in the English-speaking world in particular).
  • And of course, not forgetting the (satirically intended) Eurogrot from The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin: the issue’s been around for quite some time!

Using the word “euro” (with lowercase, by the way) for the currency or as the positively-connotated term for unleaded petrol would never have happened in the UK.

Prevalence: – Not an issue…
Frequency: – …except occasionally when somebody’s trying to think up nifty marketing terms or company names.
Native: – Very much. Something for the non-natives to be aware of.

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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