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The R Word

In these times of apparent worldwide economic gloom and despair emanating from the collapse of the USA’s financial system, you may have heard reference on TV or elsewhere to the R word. What on earth is the R word?

Sometimes it is difficult for people to accept facts.  At such times, there may be certain words that people don’t like to say. If they need to express that word, they may use the first letter only, and hope that everyone else understands. It also suggests, and this is done partly in humour, that the word is a bad, “dirty” or otherwise offensive word.

So just what is the R word? RECESSION.

Recession (noun): a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced (often defined as a fall in Gross Domestic Product in two successive quarters)

Now we can see why no-one wants to use the R word. No-one wants to admit that they may be entering, or may be in, a period of poor economic performance.

Now what could be worse than the R word? Well, what could be worse than a recession? There’s only one thing worse than a recession, and that’s a major recession. And we have a word for a major recession: DEPRESSION. So that explains why you may have heard people pussy-footing around another dirty word with the term the D word.

Depression (noun): a long and severe recession in an economy or market

The Depression (or the Great Depression): the USA’s financial and industrial collapse of 1929 and subsequent years, which ended with World War II

What’s a country to do to avoid a depression? In the USA’s case, the government has decided to print as much money as possible and throw it at the problem as fast as possible. Even if that means buying up private companies like AIG, a process normally known as NATIONALIZATION. That’s fine, if you’re a communist or even a socialist country. But the USA is the bastion of capitalism, the very antithesis of communism. Thus it is that we now hear the term the N word being bandied about.

All these funny R, D, N words are all very well, as long as they don’t end up with the W word. Of course, when I wrote “There’s only one thing worse than a recession, and that’s a major recession”, I wasn’t being wholly truthful. In fact there are many things worse than a recession, and one of them is WAR. It will not have escaped your attention that World War II marked the end of the Great Depression.

59 Responses to “The R Word”

  1. Fathi Neifar says:

    Interesting article. The topic is the talk of the town these days and the definitions are humorous. I have had a bit of fun by reading it.


  2. Sana Tahafi says:

    Exactly the word war will not have to escape my attention, cause I live in Iraq. The bleeding country.

  3. Issoufou Kanda Ibrahim says:

    I find the article interesting even though I’m kind of affraid that the present global economic crisis invariably leads us to the ‘W’ word! God forbids!

  4. Tran Thi Bich Nga says:

    This writing is very interesting. It provides us some more knowledge about burning issues happening on our earth with only four words : R, D, N and W. What a wonderful article!

  5. Rodica Stecz says:

    There is an intelligent way to activate our brains by linking the word/ideas together.
    I feel sorry who are innocent but are obliged to live in these cruel conditions of WAR!
    Thank you for the nice exercise which proves that there are invisible connections between us and all the elements of the universe;therefore, we aren’t alone…

  6. Anell says:

    I think it´s very important for us as english learners, cause that way we can understand native speaker when they speak that way.

  7. Magaly says:

    The R word that will save the economy is RECONSIDER. If government and people work together in order to emend some errors I’m sure that the ugly word WAR will be replace for the word PEACE. God will.

  8. mouna says:

    The definition is really interesting and funny in the same time.
    But thE end of it is so terrifying “the W word”
    God forbids

  9. Samaa Nour says:

    Very witty. It’s quite fun to learn these very simple tricks in teaching and/or learning English as a foreign language. Of course I use the word “trick” in good will !
    I love this site anyway.


  10. MaryFrances says:

    this is interesting and enlighting

  11. Amber Tang says:

    Well, a good way to keep those words in mind and also get familiar with the current social topic. I love this way of studying English. Thanks

  12. Lgolopara says:

    Wow the sense of words R, D and N are very unpleasing, but the way this story goes is very enlighten. Good Day everyone

  13. mehrdad says:

    i got it on my Birthday 25th of march, just say tanx, ur really helpful!

  14. Lina Altamirano says:

    I found the Article interesting, entertaining but
    mainly familiar, since everybody around the world have read or heard about the R, D, and N threat, so because of the way the Article goes, it´s not difficult to keep them in mind. Thanks.

  15. Maha says:

    This is the first time I came across this “R” word business. It is really informative and keeps us aware .I really thank you for keeping us updatedwith the modern trends

  16. Pradeep says:


    It’s interesting article. Really useful to be updated with fancy words.

    Good regards

  17. Resham says:

    It’s a good for my learning.

  18. Tosin Simpson says:

    An interesting write -up. It is indeed very educative.

  19. Farid AREJDAL says:

    Hi everybody,

    downturn, slowdown, recession, depression, nationalization are so heavy words, so why not use the abreviate version ? i like it !! it’s time for economists to think about a new system based on risks share and not interest rate, Do you agree with me ??

  20. sohan lal says:


    This is a good artical

    I listin first time this R D N Word……

  21. rajae diki says:

    i enjoyed reading the article, it is really interesting and funny explanation…
    i hope that peace be among all the world!!!

  22. imane elgharbaoui says:

    very interesting article soo funny too but iwant tr replace peace instead of war i think you agree with mee

  23. hatem says:

    thank you for exeplainig this to us


  24. Abdul Ghani Soomro, Pak says:

    Hello everone !
    Really this is very interesting article. The writer has interestingly linked the word: R D N with this turbulent world where economic crisis has weaken the thninking of humanbeings. May Almighty Allah say us from economic crisis. Ameen.
    Thanks to writer

  25. Gaoussou Ouedraogo says:

    I really enjoyed reading the comments from all of you, we all have different opinions or mind to say things around us. Some of us do not care to say any words whatsoever dangerous they are, but another are very careful which words to say in public or on the airwaves. That why most of us used the”R,D, N and the W word.
    Nobody wants to live in bad condition in their live time, we all wish to live better live foreever, no matter where we are! I wish for all of us to have nice and better live in future without “R,D,and W” words.
    Thank you all very good article.

  26. kawther issa says:

    thank you
    i was interested to read the article coz it contain a useful and new words
    im waiting for more

  27. amelia says:

    woow!! very interesting article. thanks my pals
    i get many knowledge from this

  28. Ahmed Murtala says:

    Glory!!! very interesting article.I can clearly understands that “WAR” is the solution to economic “RECESSION” and “DEPRESSION”

  29. Mohammad Ali says:

    This is my first time reading ESL articles. It was interesting and insightful. Sometimes it’s quite difficult to get grasp of economic TV shows which use such words. The simple translation usually won’t help, but articles like this provides crystal clear understanding of such expressions.


  30. jose mejia says:

    Intersting and funny article, every day we learn new things.

  31. jamal quraish says:

    Many many thanks for writing about those crucial issue.Before i could not distiguish betwen Depression and Recession,now i know it all.thank you again

  32. moideen says:

    It is an intresting article.Thank you.

  33. samon says:

    The writer gives us a good explanation about our world where goes to with four words including meaning by hot & interesting issue so,i would like to say our world will sustain in RECESION it doesn’t goes to WAR until it gets better.

  34. janny says:

    economic crisis originated financial the economic crisis worsened unemployment went up. government prints as much money as
    needed.but inflationary policies are no remed for an economic crisis .
    people are knowning enviroment pollution and proctect it. what is the best way stop economic depression .i hope economist can give an answer.

  35. Menon says:

    R has just receded to recession! Worse R word is racism, I believe. In retrospect, recession was inevitable, the world got so crazy after money! Priciples were compromised, laws were bent and ideals were chucked. What did the world expect? You can’t have the cake and eat it too. Recession is transient like superfluous wealth. Perhaps if people learn to think high and live a bit easy, recession can still be tackled without sustaining many “scratches”.

    Let me admit it it was good reading the article! Its just that I couldn’t help gabbing a bit!

  36. jogy t mathew says:

    Its quite interesting to read this article.This article helps to understand the meaning of many words.This way of teaching is very good for the english learners.

  37. ranga says:

    R word. is it real?

  38. Linda k Hollywood says:

    Is very interesting in article R word in world wide
    economic crisis.
    I think the period of temporary economic crisis
    you can use the article verb
    Recession,Depression,decline,deterioration and regression,There are many verb can use in situation economic crisis for Financial,industrial Business,Bank,and stock market index our world
    Good Luck
    Linda Kososak (Hollywood)

  39. Gana Ndiaye says:

    Intersting article.
    I like the humour in it..
    Hope the R word will not lead to a W word!

  40. vara says:

    It’s very interesting to know the abbreviation of the words R, D, N,W. Thanks to E.C@com for updating us. As a peace loving country and penchant to develop quickly we don’t want the above words to happen in reality.

  41. ellis says:

    This is a good article,i love it so includeS several words to describe the economic situation,i think this is a good way to increase our vocabulary.and the information this article offered are terrific.

  42. odaimis says:

    It’s an interesting articles, that give us the possibility to learn about this topic. And it’s sounds funny. Thank you very much

  43. Abdularhman Salah says:

    Hi all..
    this is very good article . we got the most imbertont abbreviation of the words,R,D, N,W.
    I hope pease [t willbe the fifth,and get(P).
    I would like to think the writer for that .
    with me great full..

  44. haroun algeria says:

    thanks a lot for this artile but w have to resist this words such as recession which make us affraid to mention the whole word

  45. jose carlos cardoso de lima says:

    make H no W = Make humor no make war
    make L no W = Make love no make war

  46. jude frank ididi says:

    interesting article, even in the face of economic depression, after reading this article one would still have some minutes to either smile or laugh.

    Good work.

  47. dede says:

    wow… good job. congratulation

  48. RE says:

    So I guess a WAR of some kind will get us out of this mess? Well how sad if the answer is true.

  49. Fatimah says:

    What ever the world look like we will keep staying a life in this world so don’t be frustrated to the worse world it will happen to every periods from our ancestor up to now, You will see and can learn to what has happened and that all will be back to the God power.
    Nothing to say just keep praying to save our own life to face this world in a good way.

  50. TariqShakoor says:

    ya i too familiar the word W (war)
    as i live in Pakistan,for the last eight years the people frm my country are facing a lot of troubles which are the product of bloody war.
    The USA played and is playing,or will be playing a major role.They are the bloody people they dont care anyone,they claim that they are the right one in the world,but by God i m telling u the truth they dont ve any sncerity for human beings,
    They always get thier own purposes.they want ot rule the oveer the world.dear look at Iraq,Afghanistan,Libia,Lubnan,Phalisteen,Pakistan,they killed thousand of people on the name of humanity.There is no Talbinization in Pakistan,American People just highlight it,
    But i m here to Ruquset the whole world,please please fot God sake stop killing the number of people,if u want to see HUMANITY so come to Pakistan and see the homeless people and the thousand of families which vave lost their love ones,
    I dont understand the one question? why only Muslim r in trouble,in hot water,have they committed the sins which r not forgiveable????????????????????????
    or the jews, the christian,the hinduo’s,the sikh,the mongoles, are they innocent people?
    only Muslims are the responsible for this destrucrions?
    for God sake people please do mend their ways,please
    look at yourself and analyse it what is wrong and what is right?
    the things you watch or read on media r far away from reality,

  51. chuong says:

    The way to introduce words is interesting and therefore those are easy to remember. R leads to D, D leads to N and N leads to W.
    Some responses is very impressive. The response from TariqShakoor give me the question what is the truthly humannity.

  52. maria says:

    Is very interesting in article R word in world wide
    economic crisis.
    I think the period of temporary economic crisis
    you can use the article verb
    Recession,Depression,decline,deterioration and regression,There are many verb can use in situation economic crisis for Financial,industrial Business,Bank,and stock market index our world

  53. Anushka says:

    It is very nice how it flows. However I think as you say war is the worst thing. As a third world country Srilanka has suffered from war for twenty or more years and economic crisis is not a strange thing to us.!!!

  54. Anushka says:

    TariqShakoor, I’m not a Muslim but I’m totally agree with you!!!

  55. lilly says:

    R world – Rule word

  56. minsoe says:

    it is very interesting !
    now i am learning english myself.
    it’s a little difficult to remember new words for me because of my second language.
    so , any idea or any help will be welcome !

  57. JOSE LUIS says:


  58. Muhammad Fahmy says:

    Hi Joe,
    Actually, it’s my first time to say a word on a website, but I get interested in how your website looks and in the contents as well. I hope we become friends and share knowledge!

  59. ayaan says:

    Hi, Joe’s i want to learn how to write English.

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