Tuesday 6 February 2007

New English Words: bouncebackability

noun [U]: the ability to be successful again after a period of failure

The word bouncebackability was first coined by ex-footballer Iain Dowie, now manager of Crystal Palace football club, who famously described his team as showing ‘… great bouncebackability’.

The noun is formed from the phrasal verb 'to bounce back', meaning ‘to become successful again after something bad has happened’

The most common context of use of the term bouncebackability is in football commentary. The majority of current usages refer to a team’s ability to come back and win after one or more defeats, for example:

'The team were determined to show their bouncebackability after losing in last week’s game …
Tomorrow’s match will be a true test of the team’s bouncebackability following last weekend’s defeat'.

The term is beginning to cross over into rugby and other team sports, and is also gradually appearing in non-sporting contexts, such as business performance or political commentary, for example:

'As a former Cabinet member of Major’s government, Michael Howard has an even harder job ahead of him. He has to show he has enough bouncebackability to get him into Number Ten.’

It is also beginning to be used in the more general contexts associated with the original phrasal verb, such as recovery from illness.

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