Fri Apr 21 22:24:49 UTC 2006

        Here's the passage:

<<COURIC: And this shift, Mary, can--can people conclude from this shift
that--that the White House is very worried about the upcoming midterm
elections and about the Republicans losing control?

Ms. MATALIN: Well, the White House and the Hill is conscious of their
reality. This is a very polarized country right now. There are a number
of seats that are unfortuitously competitive because of retirements.
There's--the Democrats have--have done a good job in recruiting. They
have not done a good job in preparing any sort of policies or an agenda.
They don't have any vision. So what this comes down to in the fall, as
in all elections, are a choice--and we have to make our--the choice of
voting for us very clear and the catastrophic consequences of voting for
a Democrat.>>

        My own sense of "fortuitous," heavily influenced by the obscure
Disney song Fortuosity, is that it refers to lucky chances or happy
happenstances.  "Unfortuitous," then, would refer to something that is
both unfortunate and not by chance.  (I've read what MWDEU has to say on
the subject.)  There are a few examples of "unfortuitous(ly)" that are
consistent with this sense, but it is hard to tell whether the absence
of chance is intentional in the speaker's usage.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Arnold M. Zwicky
Sent: Friday, April 21, 2006 6:00 PM
Subject: unfortuitously

Johannes Fabian reported to me yesterday that in an interview on the NBC
morning news that day, Mary Matalin used the word "unfortuitously",  but
that he couldn't recall enough of the context to figure out what she
meant by it.  i haven't found a report of the interview on-line.

MWDEU has a fairly long article on "fortuitous" and its development of a
sense 'fortunate' (with, of course, references to the advice
literature), plus a shorter one on the parallel item "fortuitously".

there are a modest number of google hits on "unfortuitous(ly)", almost
all of them clearly with the meaning 'unfortunate(ly)'.  in a few cases
it's possible that the intended meaning combines the meanings of
"unfortunate(ly)" and "fortuitous(ly)", but that's hard to judge.

what i haven't yet found is an occurrence of "unfortuitous(ly)" with the
meaning 'not accidental(ly)'.


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