A few months ago, I was casting around my brain for a title for a music-related post on my blog, and came up with “Begging the Musical Question” – a play on the well-known phrase begging the question.
But something about the way I wanted to use the phrase nagged at me, so I looked up what it actually meant. I had thought the begging in begging the question meant something along the lines of “posing.” Boy, was I wrong. Begging the question – according to my copy of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable – is to “assume a proposition which, in reality, involves the conclusion” – in other words, to use circular logic. The entry in Brewer’s provides this example: if you say that parallel lines will never meet because they are parallel, you’ve begged the question. Continue reading “Throw Me to the Wolves – or Not”
Writers. We write. And our tools are words. So, while contemplating this week’s blog post, I had the brilliant idea of writing about words and their definitions, using… words and their definitions. It’s almost perfect. If by “perfect” I mean “utterly confusing and almost entirely pointless.” So, anyway, a couple years ago, The New York Timescompiled a list of the 50 words most likely to stump their own readers. Amazingly, “defenestrate” was not among them (if it had been, I would have defined it as “To demonstrate a specialty fencing technique often used to remove the fins of albacore tuna”). Unhelpfully, perhaps, they neglected to include definitions. Which is where I come in. Don’t get me wrong—this being the internet which, like nature, abhors a vacuum—somebody already came along and performed this admirable service, but I’m going to go one better. I will proceed to pick 13 of the 50 words, more or less at random, and provide not one but two definitions, one of which is the correct one and one which I made up out of whole cloth for no other reason than to be extremely annoying. And if you’re just as bored as me (woah, Cobain flash), you can follow along and expose me for the consummate liar I am. And since I’m also most likely stealing this whole idea from a board game or something, I’m a liar and a thief (lookit, another Cobain flash). Continue reading “Well Defined? Nevermind.”