Politicians are the worst culprits for using gobbledegook, with a George W Bush comment topping the list of puzzling pronouncements, according to a poll.
The former US president won the dubious accolade for saying in July 2004: “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we.
“They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
His confused declaration saw off stiff competition from other prominent figures.
Mr Bush’s words were selected as the most memorable example of nonsensical quotes across politics, sport and celebrity in a survey of 4,000 people.
The winning statement was followed by ex-Terminator-turned-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said: “I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
The third most bewildering statement was named as coming from former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld’s “known unknowns” comment in 2002.
Sixth place went to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for a comment made during question time that: “Total spending will continue to rise and it will be a 0% rise in 2013-14.”
The research was carried out by insurer Aviva to mark the fact its website has received the Internet Crystal Mark for simple and direct language by Plain English Campaign.
:: A total of 4,000 people took part in online research conducted by 72 Point Ltd between August 7 and 9.
Top 10 most memorable examples of gobbledegook
1. George W Bush, August 5 2004: “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger, election campaign, 2003: “I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
3. Donald Rumsfeld, Department of Defence news briefing, February 12, 2002: “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
4. Murray Walker, motor racing commentator: “The lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one behind it which is identical.”
5. John Motson, football commentator: “For those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are playing in yellow.”
6. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Prime Minister’s question time, July 1 2009: “Total spending will continue to rise and it will be a 0% rise in 2013-14.”
7. Bill Clinton, during his 1998 grand jury testimony about Monica Lewinsky: “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ’is’ is. If ’is’ means ’is and never has been’ that’s one thing – if it means ’there is none’, that was a completely true statement.”
8. Eric Cantona, footballer, press conference, 1995: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.”
9. George W Bush, Rome, July 22, 2001: “I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe – I believe what I believe is right.”
10. Boris Johnson, Have I Got News for You, 2003: “I could not fail to disagree with you less.”