When a sea change happens

Today’s story Conflict hits home in N.C. politics contains a quote with an interesting idiom: sea change.

Here is the quote:

“In the last month there has been a sea change in North Carolina,” said Jack Hawke, the Civitas president and a former state GOP chairman, in a luncheon in Raleigh on Wednesday. “In the last month it has turned even further in the Democrats’ direction.”

A sea change is a “profound transformation.” According to Michael Quinion in World Wide Words and The Mavens’ Word of the Day, the phrase comes from Shakespeare — appropriately, from “The Tempest.” Shakespeare speaks of a change “rich and strange.” Paul Brians makes the case that the phrase refers to a change that is large and sudden.

The phrase appears in this discussion of news media cliches that should be Banned for Life. The argument is that a mere change in politics is not the profound and miraculous change that Shakespeare wrote about.

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.