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

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 13 12:26:27 EDT 2017


Yeah, if he'd specifically meant "insurgents"  (people in rebellion against
a government) he'd have said "insurgents."
I report, you decide.

It seems very unlikely to me that Stewarts "belligerents" in this context
meant simply "belligerent persons," as though the Taliban and al-Qaeda were
merely a bunch of mean bullies.

Only further citations can settle the question of whether "belligerent" has
gained a new meaning.


JL



On Sat, May 13, 2017 at 12:00 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
wrote:

> > On May 13, 2017, at 10:36 AM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> >
> > Isn't an insurgent rebelling against something, while a belligerent is
> > 'just' fighting.
>
> Indeed, but in this case the belligerents are fighting against the
> government we support, so they’re also insurgents.  That seems to happen a
> lot.  (Of course if they were belligerent against a government we didn’t
> support, they’d be freedom fighters.)
>
> LH
>
> >
> > On May 13, 2017 10:19 AM, "Laurence Horn" <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
> >
> > There’s also “insurgent”, with a similar sense (‘enemy combatant’; ‘not
> us’)
> >
> > LH
> >> 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.
> >>
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> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
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> >
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> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



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