Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.
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en4sir wrote:How would "anathema" be pronounced and used in a sentence?
I pronounce it e NE' thma
Anathema (Greek Word: meaning 1. to be formally set apart, 2. banished, exiled, excommunicated or 3. denounced, often misinterpreted to mean accursed). There is some difficulty translating this word, especially since it has now become commonly associated with the term accursed. The correct broader meaning of the term is applied to someone "set apart, banished and to be considered beyond the judgement and help of the community." Unfortunately within the English language one does not find such a term. To use the term curse alone suggests dark powers and magical arts, which are forbidden in the Judeo-Christian societies which the word was used in.
Since Sue heard that Betsy has been dating her boyfriend she considered her former best friend anathema, ignoring her.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life, Make the most of it...
en4sir wrote:So, Osama Bin Laden is anathema to our nations, right?
Well... I must say that the following is my personal opinion. OK, so it is "my post", so of course it would follow that it is therefore my opinion. But what I am saying in that is that I accept that not everyone will agree with my position regarding the use of this word.
First, in your quote, the phrase "our nations" leaves a lot open to interpretation. And it also forces the reader to make a lot of assumptions. I have always been uncomfortable with this type of assumption -- that the author has me in mind.
Second, I believe the term "anathema" is better applied when comparing two similar things... Nation to nation, philosophy to philosophy, religion to religion, person to person.
By the way, the Online Etymology Dictionary says this:
1526, from L. anathema "an excommunicated person, the curse of excommunication," from Gk. anathema "a thing accursed," originally "a thing devoted," lit. "a thing set up (to the gods)," from ana- "up" + tithenai "to place," from PIE base *dhe- "to put, to do" (see factitious). Originally simply a votive offering, by the time it reached L. the meaning had progressed through "thing devoted to evil," to "thing accursed or damned." Later applied to persons and the Divine Curse. Anathema maranatha, taken as an intensified form, is a misreading of the Syriac maran etha "the Lord hath come," which follows anathema in I Cor. xvi.22, but is not connected with it.
I could say that a certain philosophy is anathema to me, because in saying that, I am inherently comparing that philosophy to my own; but it would sound silly to say, for example, that Britain is anathema to me.
It sounds similarly meaningless to say that a person is anathema to a country. Far better, in my opinion, to say that the suppression and totalitarian mindset that Bin Laden personifies is anathema to the principles of democracy.
Again, just my opinion...
P.S. Google throws 38,500 hits for the phrase "anathema to me".
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