Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Adversitis* (for Advertising, Adversities, etc.)

Dictionary.com defines “-itis” as: “a suffix used in pathological terms that denote inflammation of an organ ( bronchitis; gastritis; neuritis) and hence, in extended senses, nouns denoting abnormal states or conditions, excesses, tendencies, obsessions, etc. ( telephonitis; baseballitis).”

Playing with that, one could come up with all sorts of interesting meanings for today’s typo. How about “an obsession with adversities” or “the fear of being excessively contrary, adverse”?

Alas, the reality is much more mundane. The single instance of Adversitis* in OhioLINK and most of WorldCat’s seven entries are for “Adversitising.” 

(This recently discovered (and now ubiquitous) WW II poster advised British citizens how they should deal with adversity. Image from Wikimedia Commons.) 

Deb Kulczak

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