Weapon was seen as a fatal threat to UK’s defence of the Falkland Islands – and scored a direct hit on the English language

The British public became fascinated by the Exocet missile after one sunk HMS Sheffield shortly after the outbreak of the Falklands War in 1982.

Before long, the word Exocet was being used as a metaphor for anything that was suddenly and unstoppably destructive: a winning argument, for example, or a footballer’s shot on goal.

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