Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#117962 - 12/19/03 10:24 AM A pair of pairs
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
unrelenting - relentless

How do y'all understand the difference?

theatre - theater

I know the first is Brit spelling; the second, American. But I see "theatre" all over the place here in USn's land. One theater-type told me it's to distinguish "theatre" the art from "theater" the venue, but I dunno. I see "Theatre" as part of a venue name all the time. Is it just that it looks better, more consmopolitan, or something?


Top
#117963 - 12/19/03 10:30 AM Re: A pair of pairs
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
I agree with ya on the theat(er,re) thang; theatre just looks more tony. The relentless/unrelenting is a good question. I can feel a subtle difference but can't articulate it.


Top
#117964 - 12/19/03 11:08 AM Re: A pair of pairs
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
An unrelenting person is capable of relenting, but resists inducements to relent.
A relentless person is incapable of relenting.


Top
#117965 - 12/19/03 02:41 PM Re: A pair of pairs
Flatlander Offline
addict

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 428
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, US
Unrelenting is constant. Relentless may pause, but will never give up.

And as for theatre/theater, I think the perception is that "re" is more refined, but it seems a bit affected to me.


Top
#117966 - 12/19/03 03:26 PM Re: A pair of pairs
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
ASp

I have nothing to say regarding theatre/theater because, in Blighty, it's all 're'.

Regarding relentless and unrelenting, though, I can see something that might help (or have helped) Wordwind's denotation/connotation classes. The two words should have the same denotation, but the connotations,a s other posts here have shown, can be different.

As with the others, I think of unrelenting as similar to unbending - a judge, for instance, who will show no mercy.

Relentless, on the other hand, is like a marathon runner determined to catch up with the one in front, who makes it so.

I would find it awkward to use rlentless in the case of the judge who wasn't merciful, and slightly less awkward, but still not right, to use unrelenting for the marathon runner.

Does this help?

cheer

the sunshine warrior


Top
#117967 - 12/19/03 06:03 PM Re: A pair of pairs
grapho Offline
addict

Registered: 11/09/03
Posts: 619
Loc: Carpal Tunnel Country
I can feel a subtle difference but can't articulate it.

I think we hear more than "feel" a difference, Faldage.

"Unrelenting" sounds more implacable, more indomitable, than "relentless" - just as "uncaring" sounds more unfeeling than "careless".

Anything "un" is totally the opposite of the word to which it is conjoined, whereas "less", by itself, is not an absence of something, only a diminution of it.

Etymologists may agree that "unrelenting" and "relentless" have exactly the same meaning, but they do not 'sound' as though they have exactly the same meaning.

To put it another way, "relentless" sounds as though it is less than completely unrelenting.

Etymologically speaking, the difference is negligible, or non-existent.

Oratorically speaking, the difference is profound.



Top
#117968 - 12/20/03 09:04 AM Re: A pair of pairs
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
F. Dave got my take exactly: Unrelenting is constant. Relentless may pause, but will never give up.


Top
#117969 - 12/20/03 09:40 AM Re: A pair of pairs
grapho Offline
addict

Registered: 11/09/03
Posts: 619
Loc: Carpal Tunnel Country
Unrelenting is constant. Relentless may pause, but will never give up.

Interesting, plausible theory, Jackie, but not supported by any dictionary I have consulted.

For instance, the American Heritage Dictionary [see below] does not recognize any difference between "unrelenting" and "relentless", and it contradicts your suggestion of a "pause" in persistence.

In fact, it defines "relentless" as persistence which is "unremitting".

The kind of persistence you are describing is intermittent.

reĚlentĚless ( P ) Pronunciation Key (r-lntls)
adj.

Unyielding in severity or strictness; unrelenting: relentless persecution.

Steady and persistent; unremitting: the relentless beat of the drums.

P.S. I agree, however, that there should be a word which describes relentless intermittent persistence ... like a viral infection which succumbs to a new vaccine but mutates and comes roaring back years later, as virulent as ever.


Top
#117970 - 12/20/03 10:46 AM Re: A pair of pairs
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
re:I agree, however, that there should be a word which describes relentless intermittent persistence ... like a viral infection which succumbs to a new vaccine but mutates and comes roaring back years later, as virulent as ever.

the shortest way i know to express that is 'red queen theory'--from the red queen's comments in Alice in wonderland--'you have to run as fast as you can just to stay in place, and even faster if you want to get ahead'

its applied to all sorts of 'evolutionary' programs.. the idea that you have to keep outrunning (evolving as fast as you can) 'adversaries' just to keep alive..

analogy works for living things and 'technology' alike.

_________________________
my other obsession

Top
#117971 - 12/20/03 11:13 AM Re: A pair of pairs
grapho Offline
addict

Registered: 11/09/03
Posts: 619
Loc: Carpal Tunnel Country
works for living things and 'technology' alike

Good point, de Troy.

That was the message of

Only the Paranoid Survive : How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company

written by Intel Chairman Andrew S. Grove to explain his success at the helm of Intel.





Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8748 Members
16 Forums
13809 Topics
215565 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
grannygoose, BondNickles, bobwar, Johnreed28, Lakshman
8748 Registered Users
Who's Online
0 registered (), 28 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
LukeJavan8 95
endymion6 91
wofahulicodoc 87
A C Bowden 55
Tromboniator 12
tuhin 2
Jorg 1
chicablanca 1
Top Posters
wwh 13858
Faldage 13803
Jackie 11609
tsuwm 10523
Buffalo Shrdlu 7210
LukeJavan8 6608
AnnaStrophic 6511
Wordwind 6296
of troy 5400
BranShea 5282

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith