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hoax

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hoax

Postby M. Henri Day » Mon Apr 18, 2005 10:28 am

• hoax •

Pronunciation: hoks • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Transitive Verb, Noun

Meaning: 1. [Verb] To defraud, deceive, con. 2. [Noun] A fraud, a deception, a con.

Notes: Today's good word does double duty as a noun and verb, if you hoax someone you have committed a hoax. In fact, you may be a hoax yourself, unless you prefer being a hoaxer, in which case your victim becomes the hoaxee. Don't forget that X is a redundant letter in the English alphabet standing for [ks]. This means that you will need an [e] in the plural: hoaxes.

In Play: Hoaxes are driven by our insecurities and pulled by that old stand-by, greed: "It was discovered after my liver transplant that my surgeon had hoaxed the entire hospital board with a diploma that he had printed from his computer." I just discovered that our gardener's credentials are a hoax; he is actually a Silicon Valley programmer.

Word History: In the court of King James (1566-1625) there was a magician who called himself, 'The Kings Majesties most excellent Hocus Pocus', a name taken from a phrase he said in performing his magic tricks. (much as contemporary magicians often say "Abracadabra" or something similar). The phrase probably originated in the Latin phrase spoken during the Eucharist, hoc est corpus (meum) "this is (my) body", since nonbelievers often take Transubstantiation as hocus pocus. Because his trade was sleight of hand, to hocus pocus was used almost immediately to refer to this sort of deception. By 1640 the phrase had already been reduced to simply hocus and by 1796, to hoax. Thus the sense of today's good word has drifted from the body of Christ to a violation of the Commandments. (Today we thank our old friend, Ray Johnson of Lackland AFB, Texas, for a good word that has traveled farther than any jet.! )

[The observant Agorist will, of course, note that this is not my good word, but rather that chosen by our good Doctor Goodword for 12 April. But since a week has gone and this well-travelled term has not yet made it to the Agora, I thought I'd post it just in case - which Heaven forfend ! - any member of our little band has experience with this sort of thing and cares to talk about it.... - Henri]
Last edited by M. Henri Day on Mon Apr 18, 2005 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby tcward » Mon Apr 18, 2005 10:53 am

Henri, we get e-mail hoaxes in the form of spam almost everyday, don't we? I would say that a hoax doesn't necessarily have a real victim all the time, although it will always have the intention of deceiving someone.

-Tim
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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Apr 18, 2005 11:01 am

Thanks for teaching me the word forfend.

Brazilian dude
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Postby M. Henri Day » Mon Apr 18, 2005 11:32 am

tcward wrote:Henri, we get e-mail hoaxes in the form of spam almost everyday, don't we? ...

I seem to be pretty lucky, Tim, as the email services I use - the hospital's version of Outlook™ and, privately, Hotmail™, Yahoo™, and most recently and most passionately, Gmail™ (it's the «Search Mail» function which appeals to me, given my galloping dementia) keep most spam beyong my ken. I've received a mere couple of letters from gentlemen purporting to be from Nigeria who for some strange reason really do wish to make me a dollar-millionaire , if only I could part with a couple of grand to grease the wheels. Earlier there were people who wanted to help me increase the size of certain organs - not all of which I possess - but they seem to have given up now, if the explanation as to why they haven't been heard from lately isn't simply that Hotmail™ has gotten a better spam-filter. But if I remember aright, Katy, with her plethora of web sites earlier had a lot of trouble with spam ; I'm not sure she would agree with your stated view that «a hoax doesn't necessarily have a real victim all the time». Let us ask her !...

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Apr 18, 2005 12:57 pm

Earlier there were people who wanted to help me increase the size of certain organs - not all of which I possess - but they seem to have given up now

The first time I received such e-mail, I thought to myself: "How on Earth did they find out about me and my little problem? Are there hidden cameras in the room?"

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Postby M. Henri Day » Mon Apr 18, 2005 1:04 pm

One could become paranoid for less ! Have to cut back on the amphetamine....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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