"fact" = notion or idea that has not been established as a fact or is not a fact

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat Apr 29 22:15:09 UTC 2006

On 4/29/06, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> I may have reported this very common SOTA perversion of sense and
> logic before, but here's an example that's hard to weasel out of:
>   1998 Carolyn Nordstrom "Deadly Myths of Aggression," in _Aggressive
> Behavior_  XXIV 152:  The people who inaugurate wars do not fight them,
> giving lie to the social fact that "wars explode."
>   Note too the form "give lie to."
>    Prof. Nordstrom holds a doctorate in anthropology from Berkeley.

And as such is undoubtedly referring to the Durkheimian notion of
"social fact". See:


--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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