[Ads-l] undecimate

Mark Mandel mark.a.mandel at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jun 14 15:46:55 EDT 2018


As Jim is probably aware, that makes perfect sense. *Un*doubtedly  this
"un-" isn't the English negative prefix at all, but Latin. "Undecem" is
Latin for 11, and just as "decimate" historically means "reduce by 1/10",
"undecimate" means "reduce by 1/11". 100/11 = 9.0909..., so "undecimate" is
an accurate term for "cutting nine per cent". & IMO this sentence is cute
as hell. 😈

Marcus, qui linguam latinam audivit

On Wed, Jun 13, 2018, 3:54 PM James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at netscape.com>
wrote:

>
> https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/06/12/tesla_undecimates_its_workforce_but_everythings_absolutely_fine/
>
> Headline "Tesla undecimates its workforce but Elon insists everything's
> absolutely fine"
>
> The story reads "Tesla is cutting nine per cent of its workforce in a
> "comprehensive organizational restructuring", according to an internal
> email sent by its CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday."
>
> Google gives 55K hits but most of them seem to be a technical term in
> physics.  I wonder, had Tesla decided to lay off ten per cent of its
> workforce, would the headline have read "Tesla decimates..."
>
> - Jim Landau
>
>

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


More information about the Ads-l mailing list