Monday, November 17, 2014

Femins* (for Feminis*)

Last week, for the first time ever, I completely completed (excuse the redundancy, but I'm very excited) the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle. I mentioned this to a friend and said that one of the clues had been "Koala bear, e.g." (Answer: "Misnomer.") He observed that people sometimes use the word misnomer to mean "misunderstanding" and that, furthermore, such a usage is "self-reflexive!" Or rather, he said, upon further reflection, "doubly self-reflexive!!" He meant that the speaker was misunderstanding a word he or she thinks means misunderstanding. I agreed that that was cool, and added that I prefer the word misapprehension for a "failure to comprehend." (To me, the former has a slightly different connotation: "We had a little misunderstanding.") Later in the day, another friend sent me a link to an article about a Time magazine poll concerning which word or phrase its readers would most like to see "banned" in 2015. Along with contenders such as bossy, sorry not sorry, bae, basic, and om nom nom, they also included the word feminist. (Hardly a neologism, boys, but widely hated, apparently, nonetheless.) The onomatopoetic phrase om nom nom put me in mind of my "misnomer" conversation earlier that morning and led me to our picture for the day. Feminists might not have a prayer if Time magazine has anything to say about it, but I have to say I love the idea of a praying mantis saying "Om" before dinner. We found 26 examples of today's typo in OhioLINK and 259 in WorldCat.

(Om nom nom, Mantis religiosa devouring a cricket, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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