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#117962 - 12/19/03 10:24 AM A pair of pairs
AnnaStrophic Offline
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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?


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


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#117964 - 12/19/03 11:08 AM Re: A pair of pairs
wwh Offline
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An unrelenting person is capable of relenting, but resists inducements to relent.
A relentless person is incapable of relenting.


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


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


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



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

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F. Dave got my take exactly: Unrelenting is constant. Relentless may pause, but will never give up.


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

re·lent·less ( 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.


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

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





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#117972 - 12/20/03 11:19 AM chronic ruthlessness
grapho Offline
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re: 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.

How about "chronic" or "recidivistic"?

chron·ic [adj.] American Heritage Dictionary:

Of long duration; continuing: chronic money problems.

Lasting for a long period of time or marked by frequent recurrence, as certain diseases: chronic colitis.

re·cid·i·vate [intr.v.] American Heritage Dictionary:

To return to a previous pattern of behavior, especially to return to criminal habits.

BTW there is a latin phrase which captures this sense of relentless returning: animus revertendi

It describes an animal, drawn from the wild, which "returns" relentlessly to the place where a human has provided a home [thru care or feeding].

In all other respects, the animal is the same as its brethern in the wild. It is distinguished only by this "animus" of returning, which allows the human to which it returns to claim ownership.







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#117973 - 12/20/03 11:41 AM Speaking of pairs...
musick Offline
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In the first few (or so) minutes of the movie "Bugsy" http://www.culturalianet.com/art/ver.php?art=2032 he verbaly announces his proposed deal to cut himself in on another gangster's territory. The other gangster says he's "disinterested". Bugsy's reply is (paraphrasing) "'Disinterested' means ignoring or not caring whereas 'uninterested' means an active refusal".

Anyone else know of this distinction, or does this evoke feelings of untinction?

grapho - seek thine PM system.

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#117974 - 12/20/03 11:59 AM discombobulation
grapho Offline
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Anyone else know of this distinction, or does this evoke feelings of unticntion?

Interesting study you have suggested, Musick.

The American Heritage Dictionary definition of "uninterested" concludes with this reference to a "Usage Note" under the definition of "disinterested":

Usage Note: In traditional usage, disinterested can only mean “having no stake in an outcome,” as in Since the judge stands to profit from the sale of the company, she cannot be considered a disinterested party in the dispute. But despite critical disapproval, disinterested has come to be widely used by many educated writers to mean “uninterested” or “having lost interest,” as in 'Since she discovered skiing, she is disinterested in her schoolwork.' Oddly enough, “not interested” is the oldest sense of the word, going back to the 17th century. This sense became outmoded in the 18th century but underwent a revival in the first quarter of the early 20th. Despite its resuscitation, this usage is widely considered an error. In a 1988 survey, 89 percent of the Usage Panel rejected the sentence His unwillingness to give five minutes of his time proves that he is disinterested in finding a solution to the problem. This is not a significantly different proportion from the 93 percent who disapproved of the same usage in 1980.

re: does this evoke feelings of unticntion?

No, it evokes feelings of discombobulation.



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#117975 - 12/20/03 12:13 PM Re: Speaking of pairs...
grapho Offline
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does this evoke feelings of untinction? [nc]

Now I get it, Musick. I was a little slow on the up-take.

Looks like I have the untinction of being unwitting.



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#117976 - 12/21/03 12:40 PM Re: A pair of pairs
maahey Offline
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Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 555
AnnaS, I am wondering...If we consider the usage of these adjectives as regards people, personalities or behaviour, do you think, we subconsciously use them with positive/negative connotations? Relentless for e.g., is used positively, as in, 'relentless determination' or 'relentless effort', 'relentless courage' whereas, an unrelenting stance for e.g., connotes a more negative rigid/unbending attitude.


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#117977 - 12/21/03 12:45 PM Re: A pair of pairs
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11610
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Maahey, I think you're right. I was relentless :-) in searching out different sources of definitions of this word, and a couple used the word grim in connection with it. As part of the def., I mean, not just in an ex. sentence. And I disagreed with that.


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#117978 - 12/21/03 03:07 PM Re: A pair of pairs
grapho Offline
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Registered: 11/09/03
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do you think we subconsciously use them with positive/negative connotations?

You may have something there, Maahey.

An attack on an adversary could be relentless, or it could be unrelenting, but, if I was on the receiving end, I think I would prefer the former.

A relentless enemy might be magnanimous in victory.

An unrelenting one might be ravenous with rage.







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#117979 - 12/22/03 03:58 PM Re: A pair of pairs
AnnaStrophic Offline
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Registered: 03/15/00
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Loc: lower upstate New York
Thank you all for y'all's input. I'm still turning all these takes over in my mind.

This came to me in an odd way, I guess: we had three snowstorms in the previous two weeks, and I thought, "the snow is relentless." Then I thought, "the snow is unrelenting." I stuck with the latter even though (or maybe, because) it seems I'm anthropormorphizing the snow -- like it's doing what it's doing just to give *me a hard time!

Can a natural event be unrelenting?


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#117980 - 12/22/03 04:22 PM Re: A pair of pairs
musick Offline
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Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 2658
Loc: Chicago
I'm with maahey, if only on what I've heard most often, so...

Can a natural event be unrelenting?

I'm thinkin' it's us conscious beings that bring attitude, not Mom nature. She's just washing our *mouths out with a little frozen acid rain.


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#117981 - 12/22/03 07:16 PM Re: A pair of pairs
grapho Offline
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"the snow is unrelenting"

American Heritage Dictionary recognizes your usage, AnnaS.

2. Not diminishing in intensity, pace, or effort:
an unrelenting ice storm.






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