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#117962 - 12/19/03 03:24 PM A pair of pairs  
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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?


#117963 - 12/19/03 03:30 PM Re: A pair of pairs  
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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.


#117964 - 12/19/03 04:08 PM Re: A pair of pairs  
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An unrelenting person is capable of relenting, but resists inducements to relent.
A relentless person is incapable of relenting.


#117965 - 12/19/03 07:41 PM Re: A pair of pairs  
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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.


#117966 - 12/19/03 08:26 PM Re: A pair of pairs  
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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


#117967 - 12/19/03 11:03 PM Re: A pair of pairs  
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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.



#117968 - 12/20/03 02:04 PM Re: A pair of pairs  
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F. Dave got my take exactly: Unrelenting is constant. Relentless may pause, but will never give up.


#117969 - 12/20/03 02:40 PM Re: A pair of pairs  
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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.

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.


#117970 - 12/20/03 03:46 PM Re: A pair of pairs  
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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.


#117971 - 12/20/03 04:13 PM Re: A pair of pairs  
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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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