the willful distortion or depreciation of the original meaning of a word.
Verbicide, “the willful distortion of the original meaning of a word; a person who willfully distorts the meaning of a word,” comes from Latin verbum “word” and the English suffix –cide, a borrowing of the Latin suffixes –cīda “killer” and –cīdium “act of killing,” derivatives of the verb caedere “to cut down, strike, kill.” The willful distortion is usually something as harmless as a pun, or the weakening of the meanings of words like awful, awesome, divine, and ghastly (which occurs in all languages), as opposed to the perversion of language, especially political language, condemned by everyone from Thucydides in the 5th century b.c., to George Orwell in the mid-20th century. Verbicide entered English in the first half of the 19th century.
“If the minister were not guilty of so much verbicide, if he were not so diffuse in everything he says, he would be able to give some information to Parliament.”
It illustrates not merely how the lazy use of phrases leads to foggy meanings, but how the deliberately lazy use of words can lead to a whole new sloppy concept, and, at worst, to deliberate verbicide.
verb (used without object)
to continue or last permanently; endure.
The verb perdure, “to continue or last permanently; endure to the end,” comes via Middle English perduren “to continue, persist” and Old French perdurer, pardurer “to last to the end,” from Latin perdūrāre “to persist, survive, carry on, hold out, endure to the end.” Perdūrāre is a compound of the prefix per-, here used as an intensive, and the simple verb dūrāre “to make or become hard, harden, steel oneself,” a derivative of the adjective dūrus “hard, firm; harsh, (taste) strong (taste); stubborn.” Perdure entered English in the 15th century.
He hadn’t yet observed anything resembling a grove of baobabs. They seemed to thrive in isolation, although perdure would be a better term for what they did.
Yet for all that, the Gospel has always required an institutional apparatus, without which it simply won’t be able to perdure throughout history.
meanly economical; parsimonious; stingy.
The adjective cheeseparing means “parsimonious, stingy”; as a noun, cheeseparing has the related meanings “something of little or no value; stinginess, miserliness.” The term dates from the second half of the 16th century; by 1600 Shakespeare uses the term in Henry IV Part 2 where Falstaff remarks about Justice Shallow: “… like a man made after supper of a cheese paring,” i.e., thin slices of cheese cut or pared from a larger block. This original, literal meaning is obsolete today. By 1800 cheeseparing developed the sense “something scanty, inadequate, thin,” and by the 1830s, the sense “miserly economizing; stinginess; miserliness.” The adjective sense developed in the 1850s.
When it comes to public-health protections, it’s obvious which should be the guiding principle. It should not be the airlines’ cheese-paring approach to customer service: What’s the least we can get by with in normal circumstances? Instead it should be the aviation-safety question, What if?
So, when she stood at last outside the building, staring up at its facade, she felt ready to cope with anybody, including cheese-paring selfish theatre managers …