Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

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

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 2 of 3 1 2 3
#131360 08/12/04 02:35 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,475
J
veteran
Offline
veteran
J
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,475
Indeclinables? Or inflectious?


#131361 08/12/04 02:44 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 7,210
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 7,210
how's about something in Latin, with a Greek prefix?




formerly known as etaoin...
#131362 08/12/04 03:25 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,819
A
Pooh-Bah
Offline
Pooh-Bah
A
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,819
Well this is a very unique discussion! *ducks and runs*


#131363 08/12/04 03:44 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 72
C
journeyman
Offline
journeyman
C
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 72
Ah, yes, I knew this was sounding familiar.

In an April discussion, Alex said:
... "largely silenced" is a bit like "mostly a virgin" or "a little bit pregnant."

I remembered the pregnant part. How could I forget virginity?




#131364 08/12/04 09:50 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,891
B
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
B
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,891
So did we find a way to describe these words back then?

I like linguistic absolutes but that concept could apply to more than this situation wouldn't say.


Welcome Shellb !! It's nice to see new folks aBoard.

#131365 08/13/04 02:18 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 1,289
B
veteran
Offline
veteran
B
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 1,289
Jackie, I believe, has hit on the answer. If Shelby is talking about what I think he is, it's words denoting a quality which, by its nature, does not admit of the comparative or superlative degree. One does not speak, except facetiously, of someone being very pregnant or very dead -- you're either pregnant or dead or you're not. Same goes for "the most pregnant" or "the deadest". Well, you might use 'dead' in a figurative sense, like "Smallburg is the deadest town I've ever spent time in" or something like that, but not in the literal sense.

Two of my favorite bugboos, which fall into this category, are 'unique' and 'perfect'. I don't care what those idiots say on QVC etc., something can't be very unique [shudder]. Something is either unique or it isn't; this is implied in the meaning of the word. Same goes for 'perfect' notwithstanding the preamble to the U.S. Constitution.



#131366 08/13/04 03:30 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 19
S
Shellb Offline OP
stranger
OP Offline
stranger
S
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 19
Bobyoungbalt has hit the nail on the head. Words like full, empty, pregnant etc full under a classification such as noun, verb etc and that's what i am trying in earnest to find out. It was told to me once and the fact that i can;t remember is making me tear out my hair.


#131367 08/13/04 10:12 AM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
something can't be very unique [shudder]

Everybody's unique and, while I may be more unique than many I don't think there's any question that musick is the most unique of all or us.

And, since nobody's perfect we can have degrees of proximity to perfectness and there's no reason to have the word if we can't use it to express degrees of closeness to Platonic perfection.

Pblblblblbrrrrt


#131368 08/13/04 12:50 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,475
J
veteran
Offline
veteran
J
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,475
Unfortunately that's not how language works. Folks the world over tend to pile up modifiers adding more and more to a word, etc. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just a Canutian task to rail against it. I posted the earliest example of very unique that I could find on my blog. It occurs in Plautus.

http://www.bisso.com/ujg_archives/000315.html



#131369 08/14/04 03:09 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 133
J
member
Offline
member
J
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 133
Everyone is unique but what a lot we have in common! And let me assure you, gentlemen, that at eight months a woman feels far more pregnant than at two months--a cup may be half full, half empty, too full to handlewithout spilling--and in my perhaps unusual but surely not unique opinion, some canned or over-processed meats seem very dead.



Page 2 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Jackie 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,912
Posts229,242
Members9,179
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
TRIALNERRA, befuddledmind, KILL_YOUR_SUV, Heather_Turey, Standy
9,179 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 599 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
wofahulicodoc 10,489
LukeJavan8 9,912
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

© 1994-2024 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5