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Oleaginous

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Alexander Howard
1232946.  Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:16 am Reply with quote

But I have to ask, is "oleaginous" a self-descriptive word? As "short" and "curt" are short (and curt), "polysyllabic" is indeed polysyllabic and "mellifluous" is certainty that, there are many self-descriptive adjectives.

"Oleaginous" does not technically produce oil like an olive tree or a Berkshire village well, but it does sounds oily in its metaphorical usage. Is though just that when we use the word we say it in an oily way because of its meaning?

 
suze
1233031.  Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:36 pm Reply with quote

Alexander Howard wrote:
But I have to ask, is "oleaginous" a self-descriptive word? As "short" and "curt" are short (and curt), "polysyllabic" is indeed polysyllabic and "mellifluous" is certainty that, there are many self-descriptive adjectives.


An adjective which describes itself is said to be autological. Short, curt, polysyllabic, mellifluous, and so on.

An adjective which does not describe itself is said to be heterological. Long, hyphenated, infinite, et cetera.

Is the word heterological of itself autological or heterological?

 
Alexander Howard
1233100.  Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:06 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Is the word heterological of itself autological or heterological?


Well it, oh, ah. That is positively Gödelesque in its recursivity.

 
suze
1233124.  Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:34 pm Reply with quote

As you've realized, the word heterological is heterological only if it is autological, and autological only if it is heterological.

This is called the Grelling-Nelson paradox. It was mentioned in passing in my student days, although it was then referred as to Weyl's paradox, which name is not strictly accurate.

 

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