In a recent post, Dave McCoy discusses what he calls anemic words and how “[d]efinitional context [entailed by such words] will constrain your imagination.”
I suppose whether or not to hark back to a word’s roots or context is a matter of taste. I personally love studying etymology — the history of words. And I often find it gives me greater insight into how the word is used today. For me, definitional context liberates my imagination — not constrains it. For example see my discussion of the shared roots of the words die, data, and date. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but it sure tastes good to me.
As Dave asked in his Manchurian Candidate post: “Are we so focused on tomorrow that we deny today and desecrate the past?” I hope the answer is the same for old words as well as old movies.
BTW, for those of you interested in such things, the “official” name for putting an anemic word in front of the original, unqualified word is retronym.
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