Friday, July 23, 2010

Sarah and Butch: Coiners of the Realm

Sarah Palin is getting hit pretty hard by those who guard the English language from assaults foreign and domestic, but I say give her a break on last week's word coinage. Evidently she twitted that peaceful Muslims should "refudiate" the mosque being built near the World Trade Center site in New York.

Lots of folks, left and right, are poking fun at her for saying "refudiate." But I like the sound of it -- kind of a marriage between refute and repudiate, I guess. It might become a useful word, and in any case I expect it will find its way into the language, as many of George Bush's more colorful words have. Unless, of course, I grossly misunderestimate the situation.

Then a few days later UNC football coach Butch Davis coined another word. In a discussion Thursday, Davis was talking about the NCAA, its investigation of football players and its apparent plans to move swiftly. Davis said it was his understanding that the NCAA would "expediate" its process. That's good strategery on the NCAA's part. But unlike "refudiate" -- which doesn't add length to an already useful word (repudiate) -- "expediate" adds a syllable to a perfectly useful word (expedite). Still, we may see it again, and not only in the next paragraph, either.

And in our business, longer words used to mean more publishing costs. It takes more barrels of ink to print "expediate" a couple of trillion times than it does to print "expedite". But we're online today, so the cost of ink is not an immediate concern. A more pressing concern is whether the Tar Heel defense will be able to refudiate the LSU Tigers on Sept. 4. I just hope the NCAA investigation isn't the decider in that game.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Expediate" sounds like a merger of "expiate" (any potential sin from our alma mater's football program) and expedite (expiate the sin quickly, perhaps even by short cut.)

Sing 10 "Hark the Sounds" and 20 "Tar Heel Borns" and our sin will be expediated. ;)