[Ads-l] Words Gone Wild

Tue Sep 29 18:37:25 UTC 2015

Actually, "defraud" there is being used correctly (in a linguistic sense, although you may not agree with the substance).  The petition argues that ExxonMobil engaged in fraud, not just deception:  that ExxonMobil had a duty to deal fairly with consumers but intentionally deceived them, resulting in harm to them.  "Knowingly," however, is redundant, since all frauds are knowing.  So this is different from ancestor/descendant, beneficiary/benefactor, and the like.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of George Thompson
Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 12:34 PM
Subject: Words Gone Wild

The conspiracy on the part of "descendant" to usurp the place held by right by "ancestor" has had at least early success.

Now "defraud" is attempting a coup against "deceive".

*Petition to President Obama and the Department of Justice:* *“Prosecute ExxonMobil for its 20 year campaign to knowingly defraud the American public about the danger posed by fossil fuels and climate change.”
And "benefactor" is putting "beneficiary" on the defensive.
You have been selected as recipient/benefactor for $5Million Dollars

Where will it all end?  What will be the next hard-working word to find the lock changed on the door?
GAT (dismayed)

George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998..

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

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list