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jn1057
1244656.  Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:55 pm Reply with quote

Huh? ! As far as we know, the origin and hence the original meaning of the word was a collision of the two existing words electricity and execution. Since then we seem to partially accept that the meaning now includes electric shocks which are non lethal. As stated before, some references accept the wider meaning while others are addement that the wider meanings should not be accepted.

 
Alfred E Neuman
1244657.  Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:08 pm Reply with quote

The original meaning (as you have mentioned more than once) is execution by means of electricity. You've already accepted any death by electricity as the current definition. Therefore you've already accepted a drift in meaning, but have decided to only accept the drift up to a certain point in time, and choose to ignore the drift (perhaps ignore is too strong a word, and question might be more accurate) from there to include injury.

 
dr.bob
1244900.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:13 am Reply with quote

jn1057 wrote:
My enquiry has now evolved to become, should we all accept how words can have such "mission-creap"?


Yes, because that's how language evolves. Without it, we'd all still be speaking like Chaucer (or some even older source that suze will, no doubt, point us to).

 
suze
1244903.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:42 am Reply with quote

Beowulf I suppose, but I don't really do Old English.

For a language that doesn't really evolve, look at Icelandic. A present day Icelander can read the sagas - written in the 13th century - without much difficulty.

Her language tries very hard not to borrow English words for new concepts, and to this day she might give you a call on her farmálţráđur (cellphone, literally "moving talking wire") before sitting down to watch sjónvarp (television, "seeing thrower-out"), all made possible by the wonders of rafmagn (electricity, "amber magic").

Until very recently, Icelandic swearing was equally homegrown. Calling someone a Jólasveinn ("Father Christmas") was mostly for kids, but kúkalabbi ("walking feces") was somewhat stronger. The recent arrival fokking fokk may need less explanation.

So Icelanders do still talk quite a lot like Chaucer, but English speakers don't. Even so, I've still never heard anyone use electrocute if no one died.

 
PDR
1244907.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:12 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:

Yes, because that's how language evolves. Without it, we'd all still be speaking like Chaucer (or some even older source that suze will, no doubt, point us to).


Up to a point, perhaps. But for me the point would be exceeded if the new usage introduced significant ambuguity or confusion as to the meaning, and I put it to the witness (m'lud) that this is very much one such. In its "correct" usage the concept of "electrocution" is explicitly different to "electric shock" in that the event it describes involves a death. Someone mis-using the word to describe an event where there was a non-lethal electric shock is (as we have seen in this thread) causing confusion and ambiguity. These terms had different meanings, which is why we had two words.

If I was to start a practice of using the terms "astronomer" and "astrologer" interchangeably, and I attracted an increasing body of people who did the same, at what point would it be accurate to refer to patrick moore as an astrologer or mystic meg* as an astronomer?

PDR

* Other astrology practitioners are available

 
dr.bob
1244922.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:41 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Even so, I've still never heard anyone use electrocute if no one died.


When I was changing a plug the other day, I managed to electrocute myself. It really stung, but I got over it after a while.

There you go, now you have heard someone use it that way ;-)

 
jn1057
1244923.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:41 am Reply with quote

(To steal another bbc programme name:)

QED!

 
jn1057
1244924.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:44 am Reply with quote

Dr Bob, is it possible to hear via reading?

 
PDR
1244936.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:44 am Reply with quote

"An astrophysicist is someone who makes a living by making and selling horoscopically-themed carbonated drinks"

Good; that's the new definition instantiated.

OK then Bob - I'll have a piscean sunrise on the rocks when you're ready...

PDR

 
dr.bob
1244945.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:40 am Reply with quote

jn1057 wrote:
Dr Bob, is it possible to hear via reading?


It is if you read out loud :)

 
suze
1245031.  Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:13 pm Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
When I was changing a plug the other day, I managed to electrocute myself. It really stung, but I got over it after a while.

There you go, now you have heard someone use it that way ;-)


Damnit, foiled again!

I could say "I've only ever once heard ...", but that would only encourage people to duplicate your post over and over. So I won't do that ...

 
jn1057
1245369.  Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:23 am Reply with quote

Yes, we could have millions of people posting comments such as surviving an electrocution but would it be surely it wouldn't be the correct use of the word.

 
Alfred E Neuman
1245373.  Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:01 am Reply with quote

jn1057 wrote:
Yes, we could have millions of people posting comments such as surviving an electrocution but would it be surely it wouldn't be the correct use of the word.


We don't need that for it to be correct usage. The OED is happy with "injure or kill", and so am I.

 
jn1057
1245375.  Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:21 am Reply with quote

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etymological_fallacy

So it would seem that I should concede that original meanings of words are not definitive nor stable.

Should this be the case with all words - their meaning changing and evolving over time - how on earth have humans ever reliably communicated with each other given that each person is likely to hold slightly different understanding of the words used?

 
PDR
1245376.  Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:27 am Reply with quote

Oh acceptance apartments up sympathize astonished delightful. Waiting him new lasting towards. Continuing melancholy especially so to. Me unpleasing impossible in attachment announcing so astonished. What ask leaf may nor upon door. Tended remain my do stairs. Oh smiling amiable am so visited cordial in offices hearted.

PDR

 

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