Jargon watch: Weapons of mass destruction

underpantsWhen most people talk about “weapons of mass destruction“, they’re thinking of nuclear weapons, or maybe chemical and biological weapons—not exploding underpants.

But as this Tom Tomorrow cartoon suggests, accused “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction for attempting to destroy Northwest Airlines flight 253 by detonating explosives in his underwear.

Under U.S. law, even a grenade can be considered a weapon of mass destruction, rendering the term virtually meaningless.

Massachusetts law has a better term for things like exploding underpants: Infernal machine.

Tags: Abdulmutallab, Jargon watch, Misc..., Space, Tom Tomorrow, War on Terror, Weapons of mass destruction