Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Word of the day: solecism

The word of the day is solecism:

  1. a nonstandard or ungrammatical usage, as unflammable and they was.
  2. a breach of good manners or etiquette.
  3. any error, impropriety, or inconsistency.
1577, from M.Fr. solécisme, from L. soloecismus "mistake in speaking or writing," from Gk. soloikismos "to speak (Greek) incorrectly," from soloikos "ungrammatical utterance," prop. "a speaking like the people of Soloi," from Soloi, Athenian colony in Cilicia, whose dialect the Athenians considered barbarous.


"The waitresses seemed harassed and incompetent, teen-age girls with untidy hair.  'Enjoy,' one of them said.

“'An expression I deplore for its being a grammatical goofball,' Floyd said.  And to Jonty, 'A solecism, as you might put it.'”

 - Paul Theroux, "Upside-Down Cake", 27 June 2016 The New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/06/27/upside-down-cake-by-paul-theroux)

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