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[language] Condign motives and ulterior punishments - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-06-26 07:25
Subject: [language] Condign motives and ulterior punishments
Security: Public
Tags:language
I love orphaned words. (Not sure what the technical term for this is, chemo brain can't pull it up.) English is full of them, once you start looking around. Two that leap to mind are "condign" and "ulterior".

Not much besides punishment can be condign. Ever heard of a condign ham sandwich? Likewise, one can have an ulterior motive, but rarely sees an ulterior diagnosis. There are some limited uses for both words, and of course one can always ironically force a word for stylistic reasons, but mostly these words appear in one and only one place.

What are your favorite examples of this?

Also, bonus word: "preantepenultimate".

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User: quantuminsanity
Date: 2010-06-26 14:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ooh how exciting! 'Condign' is a completely new word for me. I've never heard it before.
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e_bourne
User: e_bourne
Date: 2010-06-26 14:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My mother used to use "condingus" which I assume is a New Englandism. I haven't thought of that in years.


I don't know if these meet your qualifications, but I'm particularly fond of riparian and defenestrate. I've never heard of anyone being fenestrated, but one can defenestrate. And I love that riparian is completely different than what I originally supposed it to be.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-06-26 14:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Also, compare "rirparian" to "littoral"... :)
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fledgist
User: fledgist
Date: 2010-06-26 15:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Riparian, Jay, riparian.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-06-26 15:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Typeaux er we. Sigh. I *do* know...
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threeoutside
User: threeoutside
Date: 2010-06-26 15:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Being a biologist in the water division of a state agency, I can assure you that "riparian" is nowhere near being orphaned. It *is* rather narrow in application, as many jargon terms are...
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selfavowedgeek: Cormac McCarthy
User: selfavowedgeek
Date: 2010-06-26 14:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Cormac McCarthy
Well, you just don't see "hove" much anymore as the past participle of heave.

Also, this blog is lots of fun:

http://obsoleteword.blogspot.com/
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fledgist
User: fledgist
Date: 2010-06-26 15:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hove (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hove) is right next to Brighton.
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selfavowedgeek: Toshiro Mifune
User: selfavowedgeek
Date: 2010-06-26 15:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Toshiro Mifune
::snicker::
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User: mmegaera
Date: 2010-06-26 21:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:reading
Ooh. Thanks for the link.
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fledgist
User: fledgist
Date: 2010-06-26 15:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Such words may still have purpose, withal, and be retired unto the rubbish heap.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-06-26 17:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Homeoteleuton.
When you need it, you need it. But it has only that use.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-06-26 20:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"Sanction" can also be its own antonym, as can "fast".

Edited at 2010-06-26 08:12 pm (UTC)
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Elf M. Sternberg
User: elfs
Date: 2010-06-26 22:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And "stifle" is the only word in the English language that is an anagram of itself.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-06-26 23:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ok, chemo brain isn't getting this. How is "stifle" an anagram of itself?
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Elf M. Sternberg
User: elfs
Date: 2010-06-27 01:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yah, I shouldn't make a-hah! jokes when the chemo brain isn't fully recovered. Does it make more sense if I write:

"stifle" is an anagram of "itself"?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-06-27 18:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ok. Chemo brain is on board now... Heh.
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MEG
User: djelibeybi
Date: 2010-06-27 09:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're not alone. I needed it spelled out, too. Fortuitously, it is rather witty. So the day is saved.
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Kenneth Mark Hoover
User: kmarkhoover
Date: 2010-06-26 18:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've always felt "poltroon" doesn't get near the play it deserves.
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jere7my
User: jere7my
Date: 2010-06-28 00:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Not sure what the technical term for this is, chemo brain can't pull it up.

A linguist friend of mine calls these orphans "stormy petrels", which is neither official nor technical but is catchy. Jed Hartman (a mutual friend of us both) discusses them, and offers a partial list, here: http://www.kith.org/logos/words/lower/c.html.
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