Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

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

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#223422 01/24/16 04:42 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 2
C
CarleeO Offline OP
stranger
OP Offline
stranger
C
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 2

There is a word for the phenomenon in which inanimate objects such as machines or tools conspire against humans. They will quit working or disappear at the same time causing no end to frustration. I used to know this word, but I can't find it no matter how hard I search. The story by Russell Baker in the link below explains this very well. Thank you for any help.

A constant reader,
Carlee O.
Fargo, ND

http://www.gmsdk12.org/Downloads/plotagainstpeople.pdf

Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,797
Likes: 1
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,797
Likes: 1
A very fun read, thanks, and welcome


----please, draw me a sheep----
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 2
C
CarleeO Offline OP
stranger
OP Offline
stranger
C
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 2
Thank you!

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 9,641
W
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
W
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 9,641

My mother used to call this phenomenon "Resistentialism" - the inherent perversity of inanimate objects...

I think there exists a more formal and not-quite-identical definition out there...

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,542
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,542
the worthless word for the day (was): resistentialism

Paul Jennings's mock philosophy which maintains that
inanimate objects are hostile to humans. [OED2]

"Resistentialism is a philosophy of tragic grandeur...
Resistentialism derives its name from its central thesis that
Things (res) resist (résister) men... Resistentialism is the
philosophy of what Things think about us."
- P. Jennings, The Spectator, 23 Apr. 1948

"'Things are against us.' This is the nearest English trans-
lation I can find for the basic concept of Resistentialism."
- P. Jennings, Oddly Enough (1950)

"I must object to Oxford's dubbing resistentialism a "mock
philosophy." There is nothing mock or sham about it, as
anyone who has ever had to call a plumber on a Sunday
morning to unclog a refractory toilet will attest."
- Charles Elster (who devotes most of two pages in
his "There's a word for it!" to this word)


Moderated by  Jackie 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,904
Posts227,968
Members9,146
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
rexdee, gypsydancer, Astrostu, Chaske, ApophaticAxiom
9,146 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 103 guests, and 3 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,542
LukeJavan8 9,797
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
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

© 1994-2021 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5
(Release build 20201027)
Responsive Width:

PHP: 7.4.24 Page Time: 0.013s Queries: 24 (0.004s) Memory: 2.8865 MB (Peak: 3.2483 MB) Data Comp: Off Server Time: 2021-10-16 06:37:59 UTC
Valid HTML 5 and Valid CSS