Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Words

In searching for a synonym for "conciliatory" in order to improve the Slog's clunky tagline (above), I discovered that there really is no apt synonym. The nearest the language comes are powerless, aggrieved terms like 'compromising', 'placatory', 'appeasing', 'pacifying' or 'mollifying'. These words evoke hen-pecked husbands and Neville Chamberlain. If there's no word for it, what hope is there?

Here are some new terms I've whipped up, for starters:

Unisan: opposite of partisan
Concurrent (noun): opposite of dissident
Zionlest: a non-Zionist Jew
Neo Christian: a devout Christian who follows the principles of love, tolerance, and stewardship of the Earth

2 comments:

CBL said...

The noun rapproachment suggests the coining of the word rapproaching. Although I see little evidence of its prior use, the intent of the word is sufficiently evident that I think it conveys the meaning you seek.

As ever, we bloggers must be unafraid to discard the straitjackets of conventional writing, no?

Jim Leff said...

Thanks! See Slog's new tagline...

As for making up words...an old friend of mine edits the OED (American edition). And whenever I used to ask him whether a given term was a "real" word, he'd indignantly remind me that as an adult, educated, native speaker, everything I say with intent to communicate is a word. While pompous language cops still cling to prescriptive lexicography ("this is the right/wrong way to say it"), descriptive lexicography, which recognizes that language is fluid and will always foil attempts to dictate from ivory towers, has really won the day.

Fascinating article on this:
http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/96dec/fowler/fowler.htm

Blog Archive