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Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Nov 18, 2005 12:40 am

• conflate •

Pronunciation: Pronunciation: kên-fleytHear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: To collapse two or more into one, to combine into one.

Notes: Today's Good Word is the only one we know that precisely expresses the concept of reducing and combining several things to one. Neither collapse or combine are this specific, which means that this word is an important word in any vocabulary. The noun is conflation. No adjective seems to have survived, though conflatable "capable of being conflated", is certainly a potentiality.

In Play: Conflation is not simply the mixing of two things together (as dictionaries often claim), but mixing them and reducing them to one: "Our marriage counselor told us that all our problems reside in the difficulty of conflating the schedules of two lives into one." This word is often used in reference to written material: "By conflating her roommate's blog and diary and plagiarizing the result, Rhoda Book created a prize-winning novel."

Word History: Today's Good Word goes back to Latin conflare "blow together, melt, fuse (metals)" from con "with, together" + flare "blow". The original PIE root, *bhle-/*bhlo-, also underlies English blow and bladder. Blowing a fire results in a blaze, another related word, though this one blew in from Dutch blasen "to blow up". The Latin stem is also found in inflate, flatulent, and via French, soufflé. Soufflé "puffed up" is past participle of souffler "to puff up", a word inherited from Latin sufflare, based on sub- "under, below" + flare "to blow".
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Postby tcward » Fri Nov 18, 2005 10:06 am

I guess also related: blast, blister, and maybe even blunder -- an effort that blows up on you.


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Postby Apoclima » Fri Nov 18, 2005 5:15 pm

"His lack of clarity lead to the inadvertent conflation of quite opposite worldviews by his students." -a fellow professor

"In his mind he has made a hopelessly impossible conflation of the people, places and events of his life!" -his best friend

"Don't you dare conflate me with your mother!" -his wife

"We are not just 'the kids,' Dad, we have individual names and individual lives! Wake up and smell the dehumanizing conflation you have made of us." -his youngest daughter

"Don't you dare conflate me with your wife!" -his mistress

'Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination.' -Max Planck

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Postby gailr » Fri Nov 18, 2005 10:59 pm

This poor man. It soounds as though he is well on his way from being in a mess of conflations to a conflagration!

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