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Malapropisms that need stopped

If it doesn't fit anywhere else, it fits here

Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby Ducatista » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:23 pm

crevice beatle wrote:I'm feeling a bit thick headed on this one - the examples you use do make sense to me, to an extent, though I can't help but further challenge this (even though obviously, there are a myriad of exceptions to any rules within the English language).
When used as verbs: "Decline" negates "incline". "Descend" negates "ascend". "Deplete" negates "complete". "Devalue" negates "value".

Most of your examples aren't apt, because the modified root is not itself a common word. To make a direct comparison, you'd have to pair descend with cend, or decline with cline, or deplete with plete. Devalue/value is better—but decreasing the value of something is NOT the opposite of valuing something. It's the opposite of increasing the value of something.

Language just ain't ruly. The relationship between a prefix of suffix and the words it modifies isn't constant. It's dependent on the modified word. Good thing, too, or language would be too inflexible to be a useful descriptive tool.

Think of the other press words: impress, express, compress, repress, prepress (that last one doesn't really count, but I couldn't resist). Those same modifiers do all sorts of different things to different words.

Want another crazy de- word to fret over? How about declaim.
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby Ducatista » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:26 pm

And no, I wouldn't depress an elevator button, or a flight attendant call button... though I guess an argument could be made that you're pushing them down relative to their own horizon—the wall, or the bottom of the overhead compartment.

If you hold a debossed business card over your head and look up at it, it doesn't become an embossed card, right?
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby crevice beatle » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:08 pm

Dust Mite Rodeo wrote:I guess we know how to push your buttons! :D
Gah! I used an emoticon!


Almost...you should've said "I guess we know how to depress your buttons!"

Ducatista wrote:Most of your examples aren't apt, because the modified root is not itself a common word. To make a direct comparison, you'd have to pair descend with cend, or decline with cline, or deplete with plete.


Ducatista, keep in mind I do realize that I can not win this argument and that it is strictly internal reasoning guiding this discussion - nonetheless, I find it necessary to question outside reasoning. You say the modified root (though I would refer to it as "modifiable") itself is not a "common word" when in fact, the modified root is not a word at all. That is why we use prefixes, in order to determine what the intent is. When you add "de" to "cline, cend, plete, ter, nounce, lay" it creates a negating connotation.
Ducatista wrote:Want another crazy de- word to fret over? How about declaim.

Had me stumped for a moment on how to respond to this... but upon reading definitions, this example almost proves my point further. "Declaim" may not have a negating connotation overall, but it is still notably different than "claim" - its definition implies orating, or making a public announcement among an audience. Meanwhile "claim" on it's own is not distinguished as a public announcement. Also, it is relavant to point out that among it's definitions its meaning includes: "to inveigh (usually fol. by against): He declaimed against the high rents in slums." Again, although not a bottom line rule, yet another example of negating effect .

The issue I have with "depress" is that it is used when speaking of pressing any sort of device, whether it is downwards, upwards, sideways, backwards, etc. I am all for additional synonyms to the word "press", I just think that if you are going to add a "de" to it instead of using a different word completely, than its definition should be a bit more distinguishing.
Ducatista wrote:If you hold a debossed business card over your head and look up at it, it doesn't become an embossed card, right?

I don't know you tell me - ruling out declaim (I think there is adequate evidence to support the fact the definition of claim changes significantly when adding "de") when else does the prefix "de" added to a root word or modifiable portion of a word (I know there is a name for this but it's eluding me, not deluding me) not have a marked effect on it's definition. So far we have, de-press, and de-boss (which was only included in a handful of online dictionaries I referenced).
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby minnow » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:09 pm

How about de-plane, de-plane.? Remember that one?
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby Scotty » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:15 pm

I did not read the entire thread. This may have already been brought up.

If you shop EBAY, you will find sellers with items that...


need refurbished

note to self-stop posting drunk
Last edited by Scotty on Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby Ducatista » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:23 pm

crevice beatle wrote:You say the modified root (though I would refer to it as "modifiable") itself is not a "common word" when in fact, the modified root is not a word at all.

That was kind of my point... but scend and cline are words, so I had to add the "common" qualifier.

You want to worry this one (or deboss, or denote, or delimit, or whatever), knock yourself out! Some quirks of the language peg my what-the-fuck meter, but depress doesn't even cause a blip.

Now, if you want to get into "a friend of mine" (or his or hers or any other possessive), that's a whole nother story.
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby Ducatista » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:27 pm

I've heard there's only one word in the English language whose meaning and pronunciation change when it's capitalized.

Don't know if the "only" part is true, but even if not, it's a cool phenomenon. Know what the word is?
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:29 pm

polish, Polish
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby Ducatista » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:38 pm

Yup. I've never been able to come up with another, so maybe the "only" is true?
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby crevice beatle » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:34 am

Scotty wrote:I did not read the entire thread. This may have been already brought up.

If you shop EBAY, you will find sellers with items that...


need refurbished

Ducatista wrote:
You want to worry this one (or deboss, or denote, or delimit, or whatever), knock yourself out! Some quirks of the language peg my what-the-fuck meter, but depress doesn't even cause a blip.

Now, if you want to get into "a friend of mine" (or his or hers or any other possessive), that's a whole nother story.

Ok Ok, very well played - In order to put a button into a depressed stasis, you must depress it. The plant is not watered until I water it. For whatever reason, I think I find it could easily be misconstrued when used for various equipment instruction. "Make sure the button is depressed" has always caused me to ponder for a moment.
On the other hand, no matter how annoying "a friend of mine" is, there is no doubt as to what the speaker or author means. Seems my "depress the button" hang up has not caused hesitation among any one else who has read this thread, though I am finding examples of others questioning the precise meaning of this when used in instruction form elsewhere online.
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:10 am

Back from a field trip over to the Shorter OED.

De- comes from the Latin de, which does indeed mean "off, from." However, its privative (read: negating) use comes by way of the French dé- (Old French des-), which actually hails from the Latin dis- meaning "two ways, in two." The two-- de- and dé- --have become conflated in usage, despite still carrying different literal definitions.

Thus, your furrowed brow at "depress," which is strictly Latin, while "deconstruct," for example, has more in common with a word like "dispense," thanks to those cheese-eating surrender monkeys who screwed up Latin for the rest of us.

I think.
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby crevice beatle » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:05 pm

Thanks for de breakdown!

One final comment on this: The issue I have with this word affixed to "button" is that with a lot of technology, when you depress a button, it causes said button to pop back out. Think in terms of a ball point pen. Depress it once, the pen tip emerges and the button (or point you depress) becomes depressed, depress it again and the button returns to it's popped out stasis.

So when using machinery or new technology I am not familiar with, if I am told to depress a button that I know will pop back out every other "press", ultimately the action of "depressing" it does not create an end result of it being depressed 50% of the time - unless I hold down on it, which is not what is usually intended when "depress" is used for instructions.

I suppose you could argue, that the exact same issue arises with the word "press" but this is exactly why I wish "depress" as a verb should have the alternate meaning.
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby fennel » Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:24 pm

cloudy wrote:how did the simple answer "yes" become "absolutely!"?
*Bump*
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby acereraser » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:54 pm

Irregularly, Aquire, the giant bullshit HR company, sends me spam. I just got one touting an online webinar (I know, but try to ignore it) that I can download for an entertaining look back at just how successful Aquire's HR predictions for 2012 were.

One of the predictions leading the pack: Global operations for HR - taking a globally local, or "glocal" approach.

Glocal? Off the planet with you and the rest of the telephone sanitizers.
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Re: Malapropisms that need stopped

Postby Detritus » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:18 pm

acereraser wrote:Glocal? Off the planet with you and the rest of the telephone sanitizers.

Sadly, "glocal" has been enthusiastically taken up by academics studying popular culture, supposedly to describe what happens when global culture is localized--rap in Wolof, or Finnish tangos, or some such. Anyone using the word without irony really deserves to lose all respect from the audience....
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