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Permalink 04/18/08 at 11:43:25 am, by Ed, 255 words   English (US)
Categories: General

I'm fond of finding words so specific as to have at one time undoubtedly been a nonce word that are now generalized into the English language.

Defenestrate is still my favorite. Couldn't one just say "Throw out the window" instead? I understand a certain desire to define a single object that puts into a nice façade the definitions of a group of others as has been done in this case, but this will eventually clog up dictionaries with nothing but group-words and there will be no room left for the definitions of the individuals. I visualize a time in the future when everybody knows what defenestrate means but nobody could tell you what a window was.

My newest addition to group-words is pustulate, which Firefox doesn't even recognize as a word. In the adjective sense it was posited to be, it means to be blemished by imperfections of the skin. Now, this sounds to me like a pleonasm (yes, another of my favorite words right there). "Blemished" generally means there are imperfections in the skin. And yet here we are, declaring a word to be the definition of 'blemish' twice in a row. Has Webster's sales dropped too much recently? Perhaps.

Or perhaps the previous definition, the form of which I've seen all too often in dictionaries, was inadequate: "Covered with pustules". Why do you think I looked up the word, Webster!? You think I couldn't have figured that one out on my own, you pustulate lynch-target?

Wow, that sounded like a Shakespearean insult.

1 comment

Comment from: DMarty [Visitor]
very erudite
04/19/08 @ 05:18

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