Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Yesterday, CNN/Money reported that consumer confidence had soared after jumping to a level that was still about 40 percent below what would be considered "normal".
Today, we get a similar characterization for housing in New home sales soar in July.
Is soar the right word here? Maybe headline writers should have another look at their dictionary before using that word again. Paraphrasing the famous Inigo Montoya, "They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means."
Anyone bothering to check would find the following definition, one that clearly has both absolute and relative properties, helping to explain why you never hear about anyone or anything "soaring" while underwater.
soar definitionIf there were a word for what deep sea divers do when they begin their ascent toward the surface, that would surely be better than "soar".
1. to rise or fly high into the air
2. to fly, sail, or glide along high in the air
3. to glide along without engine power, maintaining or gaining altitude on currents of air: said of an aircraft, esp. a glider
4. to rise above the usual or ordinary level or bounds; be elevated soaring prices, soaring spirits
Nonetheless, the Commerce Department reported(.pdf) a short time ago that new home sales rose more than forecast in July, up 9.6 percent from June to an annual rate of 433,000, the sharpest increase in four-and-a-half years.
The number of houses on the market also dropped to the lowest level in 16 years, the months of supply metric dropping to just 7.5 months, the lowest level since mid-2007.