a New York Times article about a single word

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Apr 30 14:51:58 UTC 2008

Yesterday, I didn't hear Barak Obama use
"unconscionable", but I did hear "outraged".


At 4/29/2008 10:31 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>At 9:55 AM -0400 4/29/08, Robert Greenman wrote:
>>The Mayor Has a Word for Almost All Occasions
>>Bob Greenman
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>Nice piece on "unconscionable" and Mayor
>Bloomberg, with reflections by Ben Z and Jesse S.
>Jesse at one point is quoted as follows on
>semantic bleaching:
>Jesse Sheidlower, the editor at large of the
>Oxford English Dictionary, said people often use
>strong words in a way that softens their meaning
>over time. " 'Outrageous' falls into that
>category", Mr. Sheidlower said. "Most of the
>things you'd call outrageous don't usually cause
>rage in the streets. (...)"
>Could it be that in this one case the bleaching
>results in returning a word to its roots?  After
>all, "outrage(ous)" is etymologically unrelated
>to "rage", even though the winds of time have
>blown it in that direction.  On the other hand,
>"outrage" in French, where nobody would connect
>it with the (non-existent) "rage", remains pretty
>strong; my Larousse glosses it as 'affront ou
>offense grave, manquement à une règle morale',
>which sounds a lot more serious than your
>garden-variety anglophonic outrage.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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