Favorite

Words April 27 

“In October 1943, while the prime minister was parlaying with Roosevelt, a discreet bidding war on his behalf secured the film rights to Marlborough for 50,000 pounds, with 30,000 pounds banked immediately, and he was paid another whacking sum for English-Speaking Peoples.”

It’s possible that Churchill and Roosevelt attended the races together, pooled their money and ran it up into a larger sum through skillful selection of horses. To parlay is “to bet or gamble (an original amount and its winnings) on a subsequent race or contest.” Informally, parlay means to use something one possesses — such as talent or beauty — to achieve a desired objective: “She parlayed her Miss Arkansas crown into a movie career.”

But I suspect that what the two leaders actually did was parley — “confer, discuss.”

“Weinstein said he would not permit such agreements in the future. If the withdrawal of previously declassified documents becomes necessary, he said, it will be conducted ‘with transparency,’ including disclosure of the number of documents removed.”

A lawyer who thinks about this sort of thing remarked the other day that the predominant use of transparent has changed since his youth. I can affirm that transparent and transparency once were employed almost exclusively with a negative connotation, relying on this definition of transparent: “Easily seen through or detected; obvious, as in transparent lies.” If we described a person as transparent, we usually meant that it was easy to see through to his dishonorable intentions. There was always another meaning of transparent — “Free from guile; candid or open: transparent sincerity” — but it wasn’t often used.

Today, as in the example above, transparency is a praiseworthy, highly sought quality. We ask that our government processes be transparent, so we ordinary citizens can see what’s going on.

Something similar has happened with redundant and redundancy. At one time, redundancy was “excess, superfluity.” We tried to avoid being redundant in our speech and writing, for example. Now, we want the complicated devices we rely on — computers, airplanes, etc. — to be redundant, “to possess excess or duplicate parts that can continue to perform in the event that other parts malfunction.”

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Hillbillies

    • Not angry at all. Just stating the obvious. And you owe Nanc a huge apology…

    • on January 17, 2017
  • Re: Hillbillies

    • Why Mr. G - harsh words - oh, how I do love to get you…

    • on January 17, 2017
  • Re: Hillbillies

    • Yes, Nanc, it makes her feel good. She's a petty, mean, vindictive, one-issue crazy woman…

    • on January 17, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation