highly coincidental = "suspicious," "not just coincidental"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 2 21:30:01 UTC 2014

In such cases, "highly" comes to mean "more than."


On Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 4:09 PM, Geoffrey Nunberg <
nunberg at ischool.berkeley.edu> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Geoffrey Nunberg <nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU>
> Subject:      highly coincidental = "suspicious," "not just coincidental"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  From Howard Kurtz' Fox News piece on the Times' Benghazi story:
> >
> > I am not going to accuse the Times of having a political motivation,
> such as aiding Hillary Clinton’s reputation, any more than I am going to
> disparage the motivation of conservative commentators and Republican
> politicians who are taking serious issue with the paper’s report. This was
> not a fiery editorial, it was an ambitious story. But it does seem highly
> coincidental that various partisans have adopted narratives that either
> help or hurt the Obama administration. http://fxn.ws/1irx2Ul
> Is Kurtz being ironic? It doesn't read that way -- and if you took out the
> "highly" or replaced it with "purely" the "but" would make no sense, since
> the assumption that everyone was acting in good faith would make it
> plausible that the alignment of people's positions and their political
> interests was coincidental. In fact a search on "highly coincidental" turns
> up a number of cases where the phrase means "probably not coincidental" or
> "suspicious":
> > Suffice it to say, right or wrong, within a week of the Brookings
> Institution’s public criticism, we see that Congress is moving to cut the
> proposed Promise Neighborhoods, a proposal that had been based entirely on
> the success claimed by HCZ. We don’t know if the congressional move is a
> result of the influential Brookings report, but it seems highly
> coincidental and noteworthy, no?
> >
> > "It's highly coincidental," said defense attorney Joseph Cheshire, that
> the charges are being dropped a week after the director of a private DNA
> testing lab acknowledged that he initially, with Nifong's knowledge,
> withheld from the defense test results showing none of the players' DNA was
> found on or in the accuser's body.
> >
> > MetroPCS hopes the pushed back date will allow “additional” time for
> stockholders to check the company’s financial position and consider the
> “compelling benefits of the proposed combination with T-Mobile to create
> the leading value carrier in the United States.” The timing of the move to
> push back the meeting seems highly coincidental amid news that the largest
> stockholder in MetroPCS would vote against the merger.
> > In the context of the recent heated debates you had with the Chief over
> the police budget, some might think it is highly coincidental that you
> and/or your assistants happened across what you allege were two officers
> from the ACTION team not doing anything job related.
> Geoff
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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