I’m always interested in words that relate to a particular area. A couple of weeks ago, I looked at words for book lovers. Now it’s time to think of words about words. In this case, I’m concentrating on one particular Latin root, verbum, the Latin word for word. That has spawned a number of other words in English, such as:
- verb (14th century, meaning word)
- verbal (relating to words, oral, relating to verbs)
- verbalism (an expression, phrase or word; an emphasis on the importance of words; a cliche)
- verbalist (someone who deals in words instead of facts, or who is skilled in using words)
- verbalize (to put into words, or to change a word into a verb)
- verbatim (word for word)
- verbiage (excessive and meaningless use of words)
- verbose (wordy)
Here are some quotations from newspapers:
… by – of all purists – The New York Times (You’ve come a long way, baby): ”It is complained that the President is too verbose and too vague. But this is … to miss entirely the point of popular acceptance. In the President’s misty language … (www.nytimes.com)
… time, for then we had nothing to lose and a vision to gain. Today it is not quite the same. It is a time of tons of verbiage, activity, and consumption. Which condition is better for the world at large I will not venture to discuss. But … (www.theguardian.com)
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