[thelist] OT (verbage)

Garvan Walshe garvan at compsoc.man.ac.uk
Thu Aug 17 09:18:56 CDT 2000

aardvark writes:
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Garvan Walshe
> while i agree with you, it's in the dictionary, and people
> are *technically* using it correctly in most cases... of
> course, connotations are often lost or rebuilt as this
> happens...

Which dictionary?
Besides which, the secret to elegant expression is choosing which words to
use. The rule I follow (though of course, like all rules this is meant to be
broken) is to use one simple word when several complicated ones will do.
Generally, this means sticking to those that came from Anglo-Saxon.

> right... i've seen some damn smart cops say things like, "he
> sustained a contusion to his cranium area with many bruises
> and profuse bleeding..." 

However, in this case the jargon is probably used because it's more precise.
For isntance, "Contusion" has a specific meaning. According to Websters, in
medical usage it is:

"2. (Med.) A bruise; an injury attended with more or less disorganization of
the subcutaneous tissue and effusion of blood beneath the skin, but without
apparent wound."

(it also just means bruise)

> people using the 50-cent words, they are trying to sound
> more intelligent, forgetting that larger vocabularies don't
> often equal greater intelligence...

indeed, you have to also know what the words *mean*

Garvan Walshe

Email: <garvan at acm.org>

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