Biological phagocytosis of Spanish

Apparently the UPN, the PP’s brand in Navarre, is doing deals with the PSOE, feeling itself fagocitado by the PP. Phagocytosis is the incorporation by a cell of solid particles, which it may then store or break down. A brief glance at CREA suggests that in Spanish the nouns fagocitosis, fagocito etc are almost exclusively used in a biological sense. Other parts of speech, however, are applied predominantly metaphorically in popular discussions of politics, football (eg, re the marginalisation in the media of “non-nationalist/traitorous” RCD Espanyol by “el poder fagocitador del Barça”) etc. How on earth did this usage arise in a country with such a limited scientific tradition, and where half the population has no post-16 education? It’s not like there are no easy alternatives.

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  1. From a friend in IRC:

    <saimazoon> the article fails at mentioning that there’s another half of the population with post-16 education
    <saimazoon> that knows what phagocytosis means
    <kehoea> saimazoon, you’re saying that everyone in Spain with an education is familiar with the biological term, in the context of biology?
    <saimazoon> at least, we’re taught what that process is in secondary education
    <saimazoon> at high school
    <kehoea> oh
    <saimazoon> during the compulsory attendance years
    <kehoea> then, fair enough

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