Pertannually Insubdurient

EU bureaucrats are a perpetual target for humor. Here's the latest one. Supposedly they decided to remove the word 'pertannually' from the EU constitution, having decided that it was incomprehensible and meaningless. And what did they replace it with? The much clearer term 'insubdurience'. One source for this story is John Humphrys, a political journalist who's just written a book Lost for Words, about "the demise of the language." The tale also pops up in this Guardian article. The story could very well be true, but it also sounds suspiciously like one of those Euromyths that have become so popular. For instance, there's the Euromyth about the supposed new EU law that forbids bananas from being "too excessively curved." Or the one about how the EU has classified kilts as 'womenswear'. To fact check the 'pertannually insubdurient' story I tried to check the EU constitution itself. It's available online, but having looked at it, I'm now not sure how to find "clause 82, paragraph 17, subsection (b)".

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Posted on Wed Dec 01, 2004


It is possible to search the EU Constitution for individual words, using Acrobat's Find button. Neither of the alleged nonsense words turned up in the document. Looks like it's a hoax all right.
Posted by Matt  on  Wed Dec 01, 2004  at  03:26 PM
Yeah,I just love the EU *not* grin
Posted by Evey  on  Wed Dec 01, 2004  at  03:33 PM can't define either one of those... I spelled them correctly because i copy/pasted them
Posted by John  on  Wed Dec 01, 2004  at  03:47 PM
Google does not know this word either. All links it returns pointing to similar stories. No body in whole world uses this word.
Posted by Loxx  on  Wed Dec 01, 2004  at  04:41 PM
>>>Yeah,I just love the EU *not*<<<

At least the EU doesn't napalm helpless peasants.
Posted by Barghest  on  Wed Dec 01, 2004  at  09:19 PM
Of course, none of the two nonsense words appear in the Consitutional text. British press delights in this kind of childish disinformation.

In any case, the biggest myth of all is that the European legislation is adopted by European officials ann not by European governments.

As for the Constitution, it was drafted and decided by European politicians. No bureaucracy involved.
Posted by Harry  on  Thu Dec 02, 2004  at  04:11 AM
search for yourselves at

haven't found either word myself
Posted by Fernando  on  Thu Dec 02, 2004  at  11:02 AM
you mean EU excluding France and Germany..
Posted by Loxx  on  Thu Dec 02, 2004  at  04:42 PM
Depends on how far you want to go back. The United States is currently the only non-third-world nation on Earth that still uses napalm; the rest of civilization has outlawed it, because melting to death is a horrible way to go. France and Germany haven't used napalm for years. United States soldiers in Fallujah are using it on helpless old people this very second. You don't see an important difference?
Posted by Barghest  on  Fri Dec 03, 2004  at  04:48 AM
Hi. I was the first person to point out the lack of truth in this story. (Check the URL.) Although it's clear that the origin is a misreading of Simon Hoggart's article, it's not clear to me whether it was Kelland or Humphrys who did the misreading.
Posted by Adrian Bailey  in  Birmingham, England  on  Sun Feb 06, 2005  at  05:52 PM
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