semantic drift: "armistice"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 6 23:35:39 UTC 2009

Prof. Gary Scharnhorst's learned introduction to the latest Penguin edition
of _The Red Badge of Courage_ (sorry I can't give the precise quote) asserts
without nuance or qualification that Stephen Crane "was not born until six
years after the armistice."

The Civil War, however, did not end with an "armistice," which in the normal
English formerly employed by scholars means a truce. It ended with the
outright surrender of Confederate armies in accordance with peace terms
offered by Washington.

An armistice has been in effect between North and South Korea since 1953:
there has been no peace agreement. World War I ended, in practical terms,
 with an "armistice" because the belligerents agreed to forge a peace
agreement at their leisure.
Which they did, in both senses of the word.


"There You Go Again...Using Reason on the Planet of the Duck-Billed

The American Dialect Society -

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