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Justifiable verbicide

Question: what is it about politics that contributes to the formation of some of the most hideous words in the English language? I'm talking here about the word "cloture," which sounds like something to do with congestive heart failure, not whatever petty bit of political machinating it actually refers to. And how the hell do you pronounce it? "Clot-yer"? "Cloe-toor"? I refuse to turn on the tv or click on the video link to find out. Because I don't really care, I just wish it would go away.

Other ugly or stupid words often used when speaking of goings on in DC: filibuster and gerrymander. The first sounds like it describes a fat man blustering foolishly (and so at least sounds like what it is), the second a variety of slimy amphibian.

Comments (8)

Jim C. [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Lawyers, of course. They're not poets or even writers and don't care how the words sound.

I looked up the etymology of cloture, and it turns out it's French! Figures!

Annalucia [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Gerrymander is SUPPOSED to sound like a slimy amphibian. Here's why, with illustration:


Well it's a twofer. It also sounds like a great name for a sleazy used-car salesman "Gerry Mander's World of Autos." Which of course is a job very like a politician's, though at least the auto salesman sometimes slips up and sells a car that works.

PS: that ("cloture") proves the belief I have always had that French is actually a rather unpleasant-sounding language. I took four years of it -- I could never understand why any tongue with so many nasal sounds should strike other people as being a "romantic" language.

Man, I am SO glad to hear someone else agree that French is unpleasant sounding. Spanish is lyrical but French is just abrasive.

Aside from that though, "filibuster" and "gerrymander" don't really bother me. Nor does "cloture" much.

Oddly, one word that I don't like the sound of, though I like the concept, is "onomatapoeia". Partly, of course, that's because I never can tell if I spelled it correctly.

Spanish isn't lyrical the way people around here speak it. Not a Ricardo Montalban in the land.

CGHill [TypeKey Profile Page]:

The 1977 treatise Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television was written by ad executive-turned-Luddite Jerry Mander, apparently not a pseudonym.

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Don't worry, he's just chopping broccoli.


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