[Ads-l] "obtuse" = 'obscure', 'vague', 'reticent'

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 18 09:31:36 EDT 2017


By "reticent" in the subject line did you mean "reluctant"?

(Question) Mark



On Sep 17, 2017 8:45 PM, "Laurence Horn" wrote:

Besides its earlier meaning of ‘stupid, dense’, “obtuse” has for some time
been used to denote something more along the lines of ‘stubborn’, perhaps
influenced by ‘obstinate’. ( But it’s also been showing up in contexts
where the meaning is closer to ‘obscure’, possibly influenced by “abstruse”
and/or by a transfer between the two senses of “dense”, as suggested by Ben
and other contributors to this exchange on the eggcorn forum:

http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/forum/viewtopic.php?id=144

But while the contribution of “abstruse” may be relevant for some of the
examples discussed in that thread and in other online forums—e.g for
difficult-to-understand scientific theories or difficult-to-connect-with
music—I just heard a use on TV in which a football commentator noted that
Minnesota Vikings’ coach Mike Zimmer (no relation to Ben) was being
“obtuse” in not providing details on the injury status of his quarterback
Sam Bradford.  No doubt there’s a confusion between “obtuse” and “obscure”
here, but I doubt “abstruse” is playing a role.  Don’t know how common this
use is.

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