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9 July 2016

Word of the week: Atonyment

Each week The Staggers will pick a new word to describe our uncharted political and socioeconomic territory. 

By Julia Rampen

After the publication of the long-awaited Chilcot report, which documented some of the most shameful years of British foreign policy in minute detail, this week’s word, suggested by Anoosh Chakelian, is:

Atonyment (n)

The act of expressing deep sorrow and grief while wiping one’s hands of all responsibility. 

The word is primarily a shorthand for an emotion described by Tony Blair, when he said: “There is no inconsistency in expressing my sorrow for those who have lost their lives, my regret and still saying the decision is right.”


“He atonyed for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died since 2003.”

“He atonyed for the lack of WMDs.”

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“Has David Cameron atonyed for Brexit?”

Articles to read if you are in a state of atonyment:

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