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lack of honesty or moral scruples.
The English noun improbity comes from Latin improbitās (stem improbitāt-) “dishonesty, unscrupulousness,” a derivative of improbus “inferior, improper.” The parts of improbus break down fairly easily: the prefix im- is a variant of the Latin negative prefix in- used before labial consonants (e.g., b, p) from the same Proto-Indo-European source as Germanic (English) un-, Greek a-, an-, and Sanskrit a-, an-. The element pro- is from the very common (and complicated) Proto-Indo-European prefix and preposition per “forward, through, in front of, early, first.” The -bus is the same ending as in the Latin adjective superbus “proud, haughty” (the ultimate source of English superb) from the Proto-Indo-European root bheu- “to be, exist, grow,” source of Germanic (English) be, Latin fuï “I was, have been” (the perfect of esse “to be”), and Slavic (Polish) być “to be.” The original sense of probus would be “going well, growing well,” and improbus “not going well.” Improbity entered English in the late 16th century.
But apart from these hurtful factors, the Ring itself radiated improbity. It had but recently been said by Henry Ward Beecher that perhaps the government of the City of New York did more harm to its people than all the churches together did good.
“Beelzebub” had been floundering in the sea of improbity, holding by a slender life-line to the respectable world that had cast him overboard.
worried or tormented, as by a witch.
The hag in hagridden has always meant “evil spirit (in female form), ghost, woman who deals with the Devil, a witch; an ugly, repellent, malicious old woman.” The noun is very rare in Middle English (hegge appears once in the 13th century, and hagge once in the 14th) and becomes common only in the 16th century as heg, hegge. Hag is generally believed to descend from Old English hægtesse, hægtis “a fury, witch,” akin to Old High German hagazissa, German Hexe (cf. hex signs on barns, especially in Amish country), from West Germanic hagatusjōn-. Hagridden entered English in the 17th century.
We are a simple people, but we are hagridden by our fear of darkness.
Alas, poor devil! spectres are appointed to haunt him: one age he is hag-ridden, bewitched; the next priestridden, befooled; in all ages, bedevilled.
the practice of misquoting someone by shortening the quotation or by leaving out surrounding words or sentences that would place the quotation in context.
Contextomy is a blend of the words context and -tomy, a Greek suffix meaning “cutting.” In was first recorded in English in 1965–70.
Contextomy can be used to create a false impression of a source’s attitudes in the service of motives as harmless as selling movie tickets or as harmful as character assassination, which is typical of its employment in political advertising.
They engage in what writer Milton Mayer once called “contextomy“: cutting a statement out of context (e.g. John Adams on religion) in order to give a completely misleading impression what what some famous person believes.