At a recent specially convened international conference, leading mathematicians, statisticians, linguists, dictionary publishers and professional footballers have agreed that in todays modern, fast-moving progressive world it is no longer acceptable to try to cling on to old-fashioned and outdated ideas of what words mean.
It did not take long for delegates from all relevant disciplines to accept that recognition and acceptance of such changes was necessary, and that ‘110%’ clearly no long meant ‘more than all of something’ (an obviously ludicrously self-contradictory definition) but there was disagreement initially as to whether it now meant ‘all of something’ or ‘almost all of something’.
Eventually there was narrow agreement (109.9%) in favour of the latter definition, but then some mathematicians, being the pedantic bastards they are, demanded that there be a definition of how close ‘almost all’ of something was to ‘all’ of something. Most of the other delegates were pragmatic about this, and there were suggestions ranging from 90% to 99.99%. Fortunately delegates were willing to compromise and it was in due course accepted that the new definition of ‘110%’ would be 95.0%.
By this time delegates were on a roll and were swiftly able to agree on some additional follow-up definitions (or re-definitions, as some of the more pedantic linguists insisted on describing them). Anything over 50% is now defined as ‘almost all’ and anything in excess of 10% is to be described as ‘an overwhelming majority’.
‘I think the conference was, generally, a success’ said one delegate afterwards ‘in fact, I think I’d further than that and even describe it as – ‘ and there was a sudden embarrassing silence at this point before (with everyone anxiously gazing intently at him, their collective breath held) he continued ‘umm, an, er, complete success!’