supercede; dispositive

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun May 29 15:32:01 UTC 2011


OED thinks "supercede" has been completely superseded for the past century
or more, but that's not so:

2004 Stephen E. Tabachnick _T. E. Lawrence: An Encyclopedia_ (Westport,
Conn.: Greenwood) 197: Because the boat design as quickly superceded, the
manual was never published.

Prof. Tabachnick is Professor and Chair of English at the University of
Memphis. He's also a graduate of Berkeley and the U. of Chicago, as well as
a leading authority on Lawrence of Arabia, so his orthographic skills are

(Literally true: I read recently that something like "99%" of humans "can't
spell _supersede_"; that once included me.)


George Will explained this morning that evangelical Christians will be
"dispositive" in the Iowa Republican primary.

His meaning is not in any dictionary, though it obviously comes from the
legal sense which l I'll leave you to look up.

Contextually it just meant "decisive," which is obviously too boring a
concept in the high-powered jargonesque world of today.

Frankly, I thought  he meant something like "not entirely negative,"
but sociological consideration showed that was most unlikely.


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

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