Verbicide: 1. the willful distortion or depreciation of the original meaning of a word. 2.a person who willfully distorts the meaning of a word.
“Life and language are alike sacred. Homicide and verbicide –that is, violent treatment of a word with fatal results to its legitimate meaning, which is its life–are alike forbidden”.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table,” The Atlantic Monthly, 1857
“Men often commit verbicide because they want to snatch a word as a party banner, to appropriate its’ selling quality’”.
— C.S. Lewis, Studies in Words, 1960
I’m a word freak. I carefully choose words to conduct communicative warfare with intellectual midgets. The term midget was chosen to deliberate show scorn for those who conduct verbicide for self-serving purposes. I call it War by Wordcraft.
I’d suggest we look at the word: decimate. The word is defined by Dictionary.com as follows: dec·i·mate 1.to destroy a great number or proportion 2.to select by lot and kill every tenth person 3. Obsolete; to take a tenth of or from…
The present administration says Al Qaeda has been decimated. It says this so often as to appear a mantra expected to excuse the illogical tactics regularly NOT employed to combat terrorism. Please look at the definition. It states clearly the word means: “to take a tenth of…” That mean one of ten was removed from service. That also logically means 9 out of 10 still remain in ranks to prosecute the orders of the ideology to wit: the destruction of societies and people not accepting Islam as their faith.
Al Qaeda, is indeed NOT dead. The elemental operative fact of guerrilla warfare is the fact cells, or small pockets of resistance, exist to continue the fight when it’s apparent other cells are compromised. Al Qaeda lost Osama bin laden. Great! But he’s only one man and he developed followers who feel as he did. He enlisted people to carry on after his passing. An ideology can be immortal.
That immortality is the problem. Small factions can bleed an enemy slowly and regularly until the cost of battle becomes too great. Strike and retreat have been the best operative actions seen in recent conflicts going back to the Revolutionary War. Korea had elements of guerrilla warfare. Vietnam was a classic case. But where the United States failed its greatest test and operational effort was failing to recognize Afghanistan is a net loss waiting to happen. Russia lost their militaristic a$$ in Afghanistan and America will NOT be able to build a nation where civilization has not first taken root.
Somebody needs to say it just that simply.
Politicians are by nature serial verbicidists. (I know; it’s a new word I coined, but it fits the bill.) They twist and warp language to suit their needs. They destroy meaning with the vernacular sleight of hand practiced to keep people confused. It was asked by a representative that Welfare should be changed to “Transitional Living Fund”. Innocents killed in combat are no longer fatalities; they’re “collateral damage”. Liars no longer exist; they’re simply “disingenuous” or “artful” or they “misspoke”.
Obama say he’s taken steps to combat ineffectiveness in the Veterans Administration (VA). Where’s the proof of this grand effort? How come the same problems plaguing the VA since its development in the 1930s have NOT been alleviated any in the last six years of the Obama Administration?
Being “mad as hell” is another example of verbicide. Hell is occasionally described as chaotic and a place where madness reigns. Being “mad” is not a condition of anger. But because of the morphing of language and the fact politicians use language to shape their commentary and how they want to be perceived; “mad” has changed. “Mad” is concisely defined as: mentally ill or insane. It in no way implies anger. Politicians use words to dodge their responsibilities for allowing things to spin out of control on their watch. Politicians offering platitudes to cover their butts have gone on just as long as anything else.
You’d think people would finally catch on to the lies after all this time.
Thanks for listening.