Fedifragous

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Dr. Goodword
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Fedifragous

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:14 pm

• fedifragous •


Pronunciation: fe-dê-fræg-ês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Promise-breaking, untrustworthy, perfidious, faithless.

Notes: This word is so seldom used it turns up in the Worthless Word for the Day and Luciferous Logolepsy. It does appear in the most prestigious dictionaries in the US (Merriam-Webster) and UK (Oxford English). Both mark it as obsolete. The single example the OED gives for the noun fedifraction implies an underlying verb, fedifract. (This word is making my MS Word spellchecker angrier and angrier.)

In Play: Since this word refers to people and nations that break covenants, I can understand its application to the US: "The historian Richard Drinnon once wrote about a fedifraguous period in American history when the federal government broke 400 treaties and agreements with the Native American nations." It is applicable even to indivituals: "I was accused by my sons many times of fedifragous behavior, when I simply changed my mind about things promised." Of course, they never used the word.

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from Latin foedifragus "that breaks treaties, treacherous", made up of foedus "treaty" + frangere "to break". The f(o)ed- is the same root we see in federal, since federations are held together by covenants like the US Constitution. Foedus came from PIE bheidh- "to trust, confide", which also produced Old English bidan "to wait, stay". The friction of the years reduced it to bide. It also went into the making of Latin fidelis "faithful", as in the US Marine motto, semper fidelis "always faithful" or Adeste Fideles "Oh, Come all ye Faithful".

Frangere comes from PIE bhreg- "to break", origin of English break and breach. The past participle of frangere is fractus "broken", the underlying root of English borrowings like fracture, fraction, and refract. An unexpected member of this family is sassafras. Sassafras came to English from Spanish sasafras, a reduction of Latin saxifraga. While the history of this word is unclear, it clearly contains a variant of frangere. (Today's far out Good Word was influenced by the mysterious Grogie of the Agora. I would love to see his or her reading list.)
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Re: Fedifragous

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:34 pm

Worthless word of the Day. This internet site is run by an arrogant
man calling himself 'tsuwm': the supreme universal word master.
Avoid it.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Re: Fedifragous

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:00 pm

I thought Grogie--and the rest of you--might be interested in George Kovac's reaction to Grogie's suggestion of fedifragous.

Thanks for your good work, and your advocacy of good words. I embrace your proselytization. I want to thank you in particular for promoting “fedifragous,” which I immediately used in an email to 120 of my law school classmates. I am the correspondent for my class, which means I am responsible for writing the “class notes” for the alumni magazine.

The semiannual solicitation request is a dreary genre, and most recipients are tempted to hit “delete” before the end of the first sentence. My strategy is write something amusing enough to keep the readers on the page long enough for them to consider replying. After all, these are busy, articulate, cynical lawyers—a tough audience to entertain, much less get them to comply.

My strategy often works, but it’s a challenge finding something fresh to pique interest twice a year. Deploying “fedifragous” (see highlight below) was immensely successful in generating replies, and I suspect some of my classmates will be slipping the word into their own writings.

Thanks Doctor!

George Kovac
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Re: Fedifragous

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:59 am

Here is the note that George talks about in his note to me:

U of Chicago Law School Class Notes 1976:

Hi everybody. I’m soliciting content for the next edition of our Class Notes. Send me your news, musings, rants and regrets. Don’t overthink this—we’d love to hear from you, so just dash off your rough thoughts and we’ll polish them into lapidary prose.

Oh yeah, The Law School Record gives me a deadline, so please send your stuff to me soon.

For those wanting some prompts to stimulate your thoughts, here goes. Lately we’ve been overwhelmed with alternative facts, fake news and fedifragous behavior. I thought I should report on the truth. Here is my research:

• Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well. Samuel Butler

• Son, always tell the truth. Then you’ll never have to remember what you said the last time. Sam Rayburn

• It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place. H. L. Mencken

• Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth. Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio address, October 26, 1939

• In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

• The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of truth—that the error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it is cured of one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one. H.L. Mencken

• The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Oscar Wilde

• The truth is not simply what you think it is; it is also the circumstances in which it is said, and to whom, why and how it is said. Vaclav Havel

• The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. Niels Bohr

• When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong. Richard Dawkins

• Here’s the favorite Bible quote of the late Christopher Hitchens, atheist extraordinaire and true unbeliever, who felt the need to say something churchy at his father’s funeral:

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8-18

So folks, think on these things, then write them down and email those thoughts to me.

--George Kovac
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Re: Fedifragous

Postby Slava » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:59 pm

If we use the verb as the agent noun, would a fedifract be an infidel?
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Re: Fedifragous

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:57 pm

I have to humbly and shamefacedly state that this discussion of Fedifragous is above my pay grade.
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