Arabic translator Alice Guthrie investigates ‘Daesh’, the new name for ISIS recently adopted by several world leaders because it delegitimises the group’s activities. But how can a new name undermine a terrorist organisation? And why do the English-speaking media find the name so difficult to understand?

I was wondering what the word Daesh meant, why it was derogatory, where it came from, and so on, and after searching through seemingly endless overly simplistic sounding explanations I eventually found this – Decoding Daesh: Why is the new name for ISIS so hard to understand?

Worth a read. It’s quite fascinating and gives an in-depth explanation of the history, symbolism and linguistic trickery involved in the term. A quick couple of pointers; firstly, Daesh is not a word – it’s an acronym, and, secondly, you’ll need more than a couple of minutes to read the article. I did say that it was in-depth!