Monday, January 23, 2006

Neoteric Mot Juste: #2 – Verbicide

Although verbicide would appear at first glance to be a typographical error of herbicide, it is actually a very different word. And unfortunately, in this day, it has plenty of applications. If I were to suggest that a recent President was guilty of such, as Mr. Meltzer cites another of alleging, would you begin to guess its meaning and use? “One manager, Rep. Steve Buyer of Indiana, said the president really is guilty of verbicide for his linguistic gymnastics and personal definitions.” Meltzer, p. 152. What did Rep. Buyer actually say? “He [the President] murdered the plain-spoken English language.” Thus, verbicide is a distortion of words or of language, a true twisting apart. Interestingly, distortion and torture both derive from the same root (which itself has a tortuous (the pun is natural and entirely fitting!) etymology: Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin, from Latin. Thus, with verbicide, the torture of distortion obviously went too far.
Check back soon for Rhinotillexomania – and major kudos to anyone who knows or figures out what it means without doing a google search!

4 comments:

Josh said...

What about dictionary.com? Does that count? :)

tom said...

OK, my wife scares me with what she knows. She took anatomy and understood that "rhino" had nothing to do with the big-tusked mammal, as I supposed. No, she knew that it had something to do with the nose...rhinoplast-something-or-other...which has something to do with surgery on the nose, etc. :) We both knew "mania" was a habitual state of mind about something. So, what's left..."tillexo'. Exo as in exoskeleton, seems to be "out or outer". But, what does till mean? We think this word means "the habitual state of removing "till" from the nose. I think I know what till means. :)

Catherine said...

Not to rag on the President too much, but his verbicide of the word "nuclear" KILLS me! Doesn't he have speech coaches who could practice saying "It's NEW-CLEE-ER, Mr. President sir, not NEWK-YA-LER."

Is rhinotillexomania the fear of getting your nose cut off? Just a guess.

Josh said...

If it was a fear, wouldn't it then be a phobia? Just wondering out loud I guess.