semantic drift: "armistice"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 7 05:21:27 UTC 2009

Gary sounds like a rebel-rouser.


On Sun, Sep 6, 2009 at 7:35 PM, Jonathan Lighter<wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      semantic drift: "armistice"
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> 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.
> JL
> --
> "There You Go Again...Using Reason on the Planet of the Duck-Billed
> Platypus"
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