After four years of having Brexit rammed down our throats, 2020 has already spawned the equally ugly and unwanted neologism, Megxit. This is one of the hashtags being used in the ongoing ‘conversation’ about whether Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (aka their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) are right to have announced this week that they want to step back from frontline royal duties.
Even if Meghan and Harry are entitled to want a life outside the royal goldfish bowl for themselves and their son, Archie, was it right to force Her Majesty the Queen to fast-track the issue?
I’m not even going to attempt to answer those questions or speculate about titles, passports and future earnings from their new ‘Sussex Royal’ brand. Just put on your hazmat suit and wade through some of the bile currently being spewed by British journalists, commentators and gossipmongers, across all media platforms.
Megxit is a horrible word because, as others have already noted, it is inherently sexist. Why not Meghaxit (MegHaXit, for clarity), which at least reflects that there are two adults involved in this impending departure? Hamegxit (HaMegXit) trips off the tongue a little more easily though – an important consideration for professional pontificators desperate to grind their axes into royal skulls.
I suspect that Megxit has gained traction because, like Brexit and the now forgotten Grexit, it is an easily pronounceable two syllables. Omitting Harry from the neologism places the blame for this fiasco squarely on ‘manipulative’ Meghan Markle (nice bit of alliteration there), and provides further validation of the claim that in Britain even our hashtags have sexist/racist/colonial overtones.
In 2019 Christine Ro wrote about ‘How Brexit Changed the English Language’, revealing that the spelling ‘Brixit’ was in use early in the previous decade. ‘A Brixit looms’ declared the Economist in 2012, four years before the fateful EU Referendum. So there might still be time to consign Megxit to the rubbish bin of hashtags and come up with a more egalitarian new word.
As a former sub-editor, I find Megxit, Brexit and all the new ‘xits’ doubtless looming on the lexical horizon boring, lazy and an insult to the English language.
Sadly, I know we’re stuck with Megxit. Like Brexit it will be emblazoned across the front pages of our newspapers for months to come, another symptom of the mean-spiritedness dominating the national discourse.