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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat May 13 10:19:53 EDT 2017

There’s also “insurgent”, with a similar sense (‘enemy combatant’; ‘not us’)

> On May 13, 2017, at 12:24 AM, W Brewer <brewerwa at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 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
> tell.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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