Yes; I’m looking for a suitable term to describe a certain type of phrase.

A type of phrase which generally has the following characteristics:

1. It is short; probably no more than six or eight words long.
2. All the words used in it are very simple, and usually, come from honest, sincere, and very human individuals.
3. The phrase expresses, at base, a very simple observation.
4. But if that phrase is ‘amplified’, and looked at in a wider sociological context, it has much greater implications.


I encountered it many years ago, from a British novel about the life of the poor in the 1930s. (Look it up & put the title here!)
It only has five words:
‘Mommy – the big pussy again.’
A young girl child, sat on the floor of impoverished lodgings somewhere in the north of England, sees a rat creeping along the skirting board.
FUNDAMENTAL INTERPRETATION: Literal – as above. If you were a solitary woman with a three year old daughter living in poverty in the north of England in the 1930s, this would be a relatively normal event.
AMPLIFIED INTERPRETATION: Not only is the mother ‘deprived’, but the child even more so. It is obvious, that the child knows of only two animals: the cat, the dog. The child has never been outside the town or city in which it is confined. It has never seen a sheep, a cow, a pig, a squirrel, a hedgehog, a chicken, or any other animal – except cats & dogs. Therefore, the child can only interpret the rat as a ‘pussy-cat’, rather than a dog – and also add, helpfully, that its appearance is on a regular basis.

A most chilling five word phrase!