Favorite

Draco, everybody, Draco 

Lake Superior State University in Michigan, an institution of higher learning that most of us hadn't heard of until it began publishing its annual list of "Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness," has released its latest, which was compiled, the university says, from nominations submitted worldwide.

"Amazing" tops this year's list as the most overused word, as in "Those socks are amazing!" and "My nap was amazing!"

I have some nominations of my own. For some reason, draconian is all over, appearing in place of simpler expressions like "cruel" and "excessively severe": A draconian penalty thwarted the Mudbugs' final drive. The news magazine The Week employed the word twice in one paragraph:

"This draconian legislation would give the government and copyright owners the power to shut down websites suspected of illegally sharing or selling movies, music, and other copyrighted material. ... To comply with this draconian law, said Rebecca MacKinnon in The New York Times, sites like Google and Twitter would need to employ thousands of people 'to monitor and censor user content.' "

Draconian is derived from the name Draco. He was a 7th century Greek legislator who wrote a code of laws that imposed the death penalty for even minor offenses. At one time, draconian was usually capitalized, but the capital "D" seems to have decreased in popularity as use of the word itself has increased. That's probably because most users don't know that it comes from a proper name.

Eclectic may be getting even more of a workout than draconian. It's applied to everything and everybody these days, and I don't understand how it can be applied to everybody. Or anybody, for that matter. The adjective eclectic means "selecting or choosing from various sources," and "made up of what is selected from different sources." A menu could be eclectic, or a repertoire, but a person? Well, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I guess. Maybe the woman in "Three Faces of Eve," but I'm skeptical of these multiple-personality things unless, like Dr. Jekyll, somebody's been drinking.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

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 »

Event Calendar

« »

October

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: The casting couch

    • sigh............ I would argue that the idea of 'freedom from fear' is part of the…

    • on October 19, 2017
  • Re: Caution: government at work

    • As to the AR Chamber of Commerce-DO NOT FORGET it supports passage of SJR8, which…

    • on October 19, 2017
  • Re: The casting couch

    • Freedom from fear is a human right.

    • on October 19, 2017
 

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