Has the meaning of _apologist_ changed?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Jan 19 14:21:17 UTC 2012

At 1/19/2012 01:09 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:

>On Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 11:06 PM, Garson O'Toole
><adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Of course, many individuals concerned with verbal precision would
> reject using "apologist" as a synonym for
> > "apologizer".
>Clearly, such individuals are fighting a losing battle against
>Tweedles both -Dum and -Dee. After all, the meaning of a word in a
>language is controlled by the Yahoos among its speakers.
>Prescriptivism sucks!

The OED's definition of "apologist" is, in toto:  "One who apologizes
for, or defends by argument; a professed literary champion."

I think they were right in moving to the A's!  :-)  The absence of an
object for the preposition "for" (if not also for the "by") leaves
unstated what it is that an apologist is apologizing for.  So could
it not mean the same as "apologizer"?  And I note under "apologizer"
the complete definition is "One who apologizes (in modern usage for a
fault or offence; in early use = apologist n.)."  Also, here the
object of the "for" is stated.



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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list