Friday, October 19, 2007

David's Definitions for November 2007


(Appeared in the November 2007 issue of Community News)

To vilify someone is to say extremely nasty things about him. Those things may be true or false, just so long as they're really nasty. Its root is the Latin word vilis, meaning cheap. The English word vile comes from the same root. In both cases, the words acquired much stronger meanings in English. Vilify isn't commonly used in conversational English, but we can expect to see it in action a lot during the upcoming election season. The candidates will be vilifying each other. Vilification will fill the air.

(Oh, this is embarrassing! I copied the above from the e-mail I sent to the editor, and I noticed that I had typed it's root instead of its root. Aargh! And now it's too late to fix it. How could I have done that? Sheesh.)

I'm collecting all of these at:


Chris said...

On occasion, I'll pull one of those (or substitute 'way' for 'weigh' or somesuch). I think the part of the brain in charge of composition and the one in charge of spelling are occasionally not on speaking terms...

David said...

Yes, I do that sort of thing fairly often. It's annoying at all times, but it's embarrassing in this column, where I'm posing as some kind of language expert.

There's probably a word to describe that kind of mistake when it's made by people who know better. If I knew what that word was, I'd make that my next David's Definition.

alternatefish said...

flub? nah, that's not quite right.

I do this all the time when writing essays at 3am. When apostrophes start sneaking places they don't belong I know it's time for a power nap.