Hitler quote (UNCLASSIFIED)

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 21 20:03:44 UTC 2011

Beyond the scope--I can see that. Beneath the dignity? Not really. Note that
DAD did not refer to Republicans as Nazis--he said Hitler was a Republican.
Perhaps it's subtle, but there IS a difference. Similarly, identifying
someone's propaganda tactics as resembling those of Goebbels does not imply
that there is an identification of the respective persons. Saying someone
has a "Hitlerian appeal" is not saying that someone is Hitler--in fact, this
does not compare the ideologies in the slightest. The first time I saw a
reference to "Hitlerian appeal" in the news was when a NH newspaper
described Gary Hart's campaign. It was not meant to be a term of
derision--but it did point out that Hart supporters were extremely devoted
without really knowing why. When asked to describe what Hart stood for, most
floundered... or is it "foundered"?

Interestingly, as a non-native speaker, for a long time I've been wondering
if there is a difference between founder and flounder, as well as forms and
derivatives. I've mostly used "flounder", considering "founder" to be
/bookish/.  It's not an eggcorn--at least, not in at least 400 years, if you
believe the OED. But what is described there as foundering or floundering I
would describe as thrashing [about]. When I hear flounder, I am not thinking
about a "violent stumble", but rather being lost, hesitant, obstructed in
one's goals by own inability, ineptitude or indecision, progressing clumsily
or not at all, failing to reach a goal and wandering aimlessly instead.
Whatever it is, it does not sound "violent" to me. Is that a question of
degree or there a more fundamental (etymological pun intended) difference.

Macmillan D has more basic definitions that point that my understanding of
f(l)oundering may be off:

▸ verb:  stumble and nearly fall ("The horses foundered")
> ▸ verb:  sink below the surface
> ▸ verb:  fail utterly; collapse ("The project foundered")
> ▸ verb:  break down, literally or metaphorically

AHD is similar:

*  To sink below the surface of the water: The ship struck a reef and
> foundered.
> *  To cave in; sink: The platform swayed and then foundered.
> *  To fail utterly; collapse: a marriage that soon foundered.
> *  To stumble, especially to stumble and go lame. Used of horses.
> *  To become ill from overeating. Used of livestock.
> *  To be afflicted with laminitis. Used of horses.

MWOLD is much more concise:

: to become disabled; especially : to go lame
> : to give way : collapse

Going in reverse on "flounder":

: to struggle to move or obtain footing : thrash about wildly
> : to proceed or act clumsily or ineffectually

So far, it looks like my personal usage fits "flounder" exactly and
"founder" not at all!


*  To make clumsy attempts to move or regain one's balance.
> *  To move or act clumsily and in confusion. See Synonyms at blunder. See
> Usage Note at founder1.
> Probably alteration of founder1
> Usage Note:
> The verbs founder and flounder are often confused. Founder comes from a
> Latin word meaning "bottom" (as in foundation) and originally referred to
> knocking enemies down; it is now also used to mean "to fail utterly,
> collapse." Flounder means "to move clumsily, thrash about," and hence "to
> proceed in confusion." If John is foundering in Chemistry 1, he had better
> drop the course; if he is floundering, he may yet pull through.

And Macmillan:

▸ verb:  to feel confused and not know what to say or do next
> Maureen floundered, trying to think of a response.
> ▸ verb:  to move with great difficulty and in an uncontrolled way
> The horses were floundering in the deep snow.
> ▸ verb:  to experience difficulties and be likely to fail
> The country’s economy is floundering and the future is uncertain.

I don't see the OED making quite as radical a distinction. But that's not
too surprising as the latest quotation between the two is from 1893.


On Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 3:10 PM, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC <
Bill.Mullins at us.army.mil> wrote:

> One doesn't have to be a Republican (and I'm not) to find DAD's comment
> to be beneath the dignity of this list.
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
> Behalf Of
> > David A. Daniel
> > Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 10:56 AM
> > Subject: Re: Hitler quote
> >
> > -
> >
> > Hmph. Hitler was a Republican? Not a surprise.
> > DAD

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