Monday, January 05, 2004

Negative words

Reading Eco's Baudolino about a year ago, I had to set it aside to check "licit" in the dictionary. One of those words we usually use in the negative, I questioned the legitimacy of the unmorphemed version.

Amazon searches inside the book to reveal that "licit" is not all that uncommon. Still, it made me stop.

Illicit.

Unfettered.

Impeccable. Strictly speaking, the antonym is "peccant." When's the last time you used that word in casual conversation?

On the subject of words, the list of words to be banned for overuse in 2003 is under discussion.

I rather like the word "metrosexual," but I've only used it once. I heard and saw it a gazillion times in the news, but it was always in the context of defining what a metrosexual was to determine whether it was a new word or a new phenomenon. I'm not convinced that counts for usage.

The only real problem with "shock and awe" was that there wasn't any. Just another clever marketing catchphrase.

Oddly, though many news sources are carrying the same AP story, the list in its entirety does not appear to be available.
Post a Comment