We were chatting with a friend recently, recounting various stories of encounters and things observed – as we all do, don’t we – when she described how someone who was a little worse for wear prolapsed at her feet.
We all looked at her, horrified at the image she’d just painted. I struggled to recall the incident she’d been describing and ventured: “do you mean ‘poleaxed’?” After a moment’s thought she reconsidered and agreed that this was indeed the word she had been intending to use.
While both words involve things falling, she had intended to describe the subject of the story falling over, rather than their internal organs falling out.
She may have wished that person some degree of animosity, but certainly not to the extent implied by her first word usage. We’re occasionally quite harsh towards people who we feel deserve our opprobrium, but I’m pretty sure that a good hard prolapse is not a fate we’ve wished on anyone.