Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 21 23:19:44 UTC 2006

FWIW, it seems to me that, from the wiewpoint of the Dark Side, the
retirements would be "both unfortunate and not by chance." However, I stand
four-square behind the prescriptivists in feeling that there is no such
standard term as "unfortuitous."


On 4/21/06, Baker, John <JMB at stradley.com> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
> Subject:      Re: unfortuitously
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>         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)'.
> arnold
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