“Blatantly” and “patently”
A reader says
I get blatantly and patently confused, always thinking that blatantly (obvious) is about the argument being very clear, however in the media I hear patently?
The adverb patently [pāt’nt-lē] means “openly, obviously, clearly.” It derives from the noun patent [Br pāt’nt, US păt’nt], a term that originally referred to an “open” letter or document as in Letters Patent. The general descriptive sense of “open to view, plain, clear” is first recorded c.1500 (The adjective patent is pronounced [pāt’nt] by both British and US speakers.)
He says the report in NYT… was “patently false.”
He was patently blessed.
“This is just more patently absurd stuff about software patents…
The adverb blatantly comes from a word coined by Edmund Spenser in his allegory The Faerie Queen. He created a thousand-tongued monster to represent the vice of Slander and called it the “blatant beast.” Blatant came to mean “noisy in an offensive and vulgar way.” The current sense of “obvious, glaringly conspicuous” dates from 1889.
How do I fire my trustee? He is blatantly self-dealing & has breached his fiduciary duty numerous ways.
Track announcer says he was ‘blatantly biased’ during his call of the Breeders’ Cup Classic,
Although he was blatantly on drugs, the crowd still cheered him…
In this example, the writer may have meant blatantly:
[The script] is patently gross and offensive.
Both words mean “obviously,” but the word patently does not necessarily convey a sense of disapproval. Blatantly is used when the trait or action described is seen as despicable.
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