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ALEATORY

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ALEATORY

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Nov 12, 2005 11:53 pm

• aleatory •

Pronunciation: ey-li-ê-tor-ee • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Lucky, chancy, dependent on chance or fortune rather than planned. 2. Related to or characterized by gambling.

Notes: Although this word contains a fairly common suffix (-ory), it is a lexical orphan. We can, of course, form the adverb, aleatorily, but no one seems to have ventured near a noun like aleatoriness. Today's is a somewhat awkward word, so it is probably better not to try the derivational possibilities in public.

In Play: The words lucky and chancy sound a bit slangy in referring to an enterprise that involves chance: "The manager of our team liked making such aleatory calls as a bunt with the bases loaded." Some people are frightened by the aleatory aspects of life while others live for them: "Henrietta tries to avoid such aleatory processes as elections and jury trials."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes directly from Latin aleatorius, the adjective of aleator "gambler", a noun derived from alea "a die, a game of chance". It is related to Greek alea "an escape". Not much else is known about this root (*al-), except that it was identical or very similar to several others with meanings so remote from each other that connections cannot be reliably made. (Let's take an aleatory guess that GailR of the Alpha Agora, who suggested today's woefully underused word, is Gail Rallens--and thank her for her contribution.)
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Postby Grogie » Sun Nov 13, 2005 6:39 am

Thanks for this word Gail. It is indeed woefully underused.
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Re: ALEATORY

Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:29 pm

Dr. Goodword wrote:...

"Henrietta tries to avoid such aleatory processes as elections and jury trials."

...


Not to worry, Dr G ! The more Mr Diebold gets to spread his machines around, the less aleatory the results of electoral processes tend to be....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Re: ALEATORY

Postby Stargzer » Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:54 pm

M. Henri Day wrote: . . . Not to worry, Dr G ! The more Mr Diebold gets to spread his machines around, the less aleatory the results of electoral processes tend to be....

Henri


"Too err is human; to really screw things up takes a computer."

I was sorry to see our mark-sense ballots be replaced by an all-electronic system. They had the advantage of having a hard-copy backup that was machine-readable. Sometimes, advancements are not always improvements.
Regards//Larry

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-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Nov 19, 2005 6:41 pm

But if the «error» is neither random nor inadvertent?...

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby gailr » Sat Nov 19, 2005 9:08 pm

Both sides of the political aisle can cry "foul!" when there is no paper trail and no way to recount. Ultimately, the perception of intentional error is as troubling as the fact, if such could be proven. I agree with those who say that arguments of the expense of paper records matter little against the long-term effects of a whole population's increasing distrust of the home version of the political system which we are so helpfully installing elsewhere.
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