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Richard Nordquist

Why There's No Good in Goodbye

By January 14, 2013

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The etymological fallacy is the faulty argument that the "true" or "proper" definition of a word must be its oldest or original meaning. Because most words undergo some degree of semantic change, the one reliable guide to a word's meaning is present-day usage rather than history. . . .


For the complete article (revised and expanded), see Semantic Change and the Etymological Fallacy.


Comments

January 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm
(1) Ted Scholten says:

re: “Why There’s No Good in Goodbye”: since God is probably a contraction of Good, ther IS good in goodbye! (and, in some situations, there is good in goodbye when, what is actually meant is “good riddance”!) Another question, I always joked that the word “women” actually was a contraction of “woe to men”; now I am not so sure.

January 22, 2013 at 6:06 am
(2) plasmodium says:

I constantly emailed this web site post page to all my contacts, since if like to
read it next my contacts will too.

January 22, 2013 at 7:34 am
(3) Rolph W. says:

I love reading this page, there is always interesting stuf

February 3, 2013 at 6:37 pm
(4) Ellie Kesselman says:

There is no fortune in “fortuitous”. That is so disappointing! Serendipity is required, instead.

There’s no foresight in proactive. I was surprised that in this case, “Urban Dictionary” trumps “Merriam-Webster”, with humor:

Originally a psychological term indicating an empowered, self-reliant individual, this has evolved through misuse into a neo-antonym of ‘reactive’…. ‘Proactive’ is interesting in that it is perhaps the classic example of the unnecessary neologism. It serves as an antonym to ‘reactive’, yet ‘reactive’ is itself the antonym of ‘active’. The cult of hatred that has understandably grown up around the word can only help it endure further.
Urban Dictionary, Definition 1 for proactive

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