[Ads-l] belligerent, n. = 'military adversary'

W Brewer brewerwa at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 13 00:24:37 EDT 2017

On May 11, 2017 10:51 AM, "Jonathan Lighter" wrote:  << Not in OED. >>
JL: << " Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, Director DIA, testifies that  without
more  assets the stalemate in Afghanistan "will deteriorate in the favor of
 the belligerents." >>
GLC:  << You may be missing a nuance here: The enemy is seen as
belligerent/aggressive/unethical/s.o.b's.  Our side, by contrast, is seen
as pacifiers/promoters of peace/nation builders.  I suppose that's what Lt.
Gen. Stewart was thinking. >>
WB:  This is my take.  Stewart wants to say "enemy", but it is too taboo to
refer to Muslims as "enemy". Stewart must use a euphemism. <Belligerent>
now has an extended euphemistic meaning of 'the enemy, the bad guys, them
not us' from this one data point. How many data points are necessary before
it wends its way into the OED? Prescriptive rants are, of course, welcome,
as part of the historical record for canonization. OTOH, the OED is full of
obscure, nonce entries of interest to none but pedantic drudges. Time will

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list