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PERNICIOUS

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PERNICIOUS

Postby ashaffer » Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:32 pm

• pernicious •


Pronunciation: pêr-ni-shês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Fatal or potentially fatal, as a pernicious disease. 2. Evil, insidious, spitefully destructive, as pernicious rumors.

Notes: The noun from today's adjective is perniciousness and the adverb, perniciously. This adjective is related to an old noun, pernicion "destruction, ruin", which hasn't been used much since the 18th century. A second adjective, pernicious "fast, rapid, swift", is so rare as to probably be obsolete. The same applies to its noun, pernicity. Using this adjective probably isn't worth the risk of its being confused with today's Good Word.

In Play: We should not lose sight of the association of this Good Word with death when we use it: "The toxic waste dump being planned for our neighborhood could have a pernicious influence on the air we breathe and the water we drink." However, as always, the death could be purely metaphorical: "Celia Fate's pernicious chicanery succeeded in getting her the promotion she wanted but seriously undermined our faith in the fairness of promotions here."

Word History: This Good Word comes to us courtesy of French, which lent us its pernicieux, the descendant of Latin perniciosus. This adjective came from the noun pernicies "destruction", based on per "through, thorough" + nex (nek-s-) "death" + a noun suffix. The oldest form of this root was PIE nek-/nok- "death", the same root shows in Greek nekros "corpse", found in the English borrowings necrosis "dead tissue" and necrology "obituary". The o-form turns up in Latin noxa "injury", at the root of English noxious and obnoxious. You might wonder how the drink of the gods could be associated with death. Well, the same root, nek-, appears in Greek nectar, borrowed as English nectar with a meaning far removed from death or perniciousness. However, it entered Greek meaning "that which overcomes death" from nek- "death" + tar- "pass over, overcome".
Recursion is the root of computation since it trades description for time. - Alan Perlis
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Postby M. Henri Day » Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:12 pm

Ashaffer, I don't think «pernicious» would be quite the word to describe your avatar, but «hostile», not to say «inimical», seem to me right on the mark ! (Of course, perhaps I'm just paranoid - tendencies of this sort constituting an occupational hazard in my profession....)

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby tcward » Fri Feb 25, 2005 3:25 pm

Pernicious sounds like a name of one of the extended Addams Family members...

-Tim
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Postby KatyBr » Fri Feb 25, 2005 3:36 pm

Uncle Pern for short
or cousin Nishious?

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Feb 26, 2005 7:07 pm

tcward wrote:Pernicious sounds like a name of one of the extended Addams Family members...

«Flagitious», no doubt, being a third-cousin....

Henri
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Postby anders » Sun Feb 27, 2005 6:09 am

I primarily associate the word with aemia, but I have seen it in other contexts.

Is a flagitious person one who has acquired some nasty flagellates? Do these things spread by flagellation?
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Feb 27, 2005 10:52 am

Whenever I see pernicious (or pernicioso), I think of leg - Portuguese perna, Spanish pierna - and I think of someone with long legs. :)

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Feb 27, 2005 11:57 am

anders wrote:...

Is a flagitious person one who has acquired some nasty flagellates? Do these things spread by flagellation?


Here's what AHD has to say on the matter
fla·gi·tious [...]
adj.

1. Characterized by extremely brutal or cruel crimes; vicious.

2. Infamous; scandalous: "That remorseless government persisted in its flagitious project" (Robert Southey).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[Middle English flagicious, wicked, from Latin flâgitisôus, from flâgitium, shameful act, protest, from flâgitâre, to importune, to demand vehemently.]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
fla·gitious·ly adv.
fla·gitious·ness n.


In his latest weekly newsletter, Michael Quinon makes the link to the whip (but not to protozoa spp with wagging tails)
The word is from Latin "flagitium", a shameful act, and can be
traced back to "flagrum", a whip. So it's a close relative of
"flagellate", to whip or scourge. But, despite the similarity in
form and sense, and the opinion of some older authorities, it's not
related to "flagrant", something conspicuously offensive, which is
from Latin "flagrare", to burn.


Henri

PS : But what in [censored] is «*aemia» ?...
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Postby KatyBr » Sun Feb 27, 2005 2:04 pm

anders wrote:I primarily associate the word with aemia, but I have seen it in other contexts.

Is a flagitious person one who has acquired some nasty flagellates? Do these things spread by flagellation?



Hahahahahahah

Katy
yup Anders you are very funny.
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Postby anders » Sun Feb 27, 2005 3:12 pm

Sorry for the confusion, Henri. Anemia (anaemia perniciosa). A flagrant error.

Anders

hoisting the flag for our first non-junior, Katy.
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Postby M. Henri Day » Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:37 pm

Katy leads the way ! And now we know where the boundary between junior and unmarked lexitarian status goes. But what lies higher up the ladder ?

Henri

PS : Sorry, Anders, I should have caught that reference to Vitamine B-12 deficiency at once ! Perhaps I should have my own S-cobalamine checked ?...
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Postby anders » Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:26 pm

Well, Henri, sooner or ladder we'll be there as well.

I haven't been in the blood business for ages (i.e since 1975), except for translating instructions for analyses of blood parameters, but I have a faint recollection of some too often overlooked aspects of B12 vs. anemias. D'ya know what I'm referring to?
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Postby M. Henri Day » Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:44 pm

Not sure. You could possibly be referring to the roles played by other factors, like pyridoxine (vitamine B-6), folate, etc, in the treatment of pernicious anaemia, but I must confess that I have forgotten the little I once knew about these matters. If you could jog my fading memory....

Henri
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Postby KatyBr » Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:20 pm

So, What's the treatment of choice here? certainly not vitamins, oh wait I know, Coumadin, or perhaps chemo therapy, a little rat-poison and mustard gas can do wonders!

Katy
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:10 am

Slava, thanks for digging up the first post, done by the site admin rather than the doc. I looked for this on p 50 of the Goodword Discussion, but came up with the one I posted. I like this better because that would mean the site began on my favorite holiday, and I was celebrationg that evening in one fashion or another just a yr and two days after my heart attack. Said site also began with considerable humor if somewhat esoteric.
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