Matt Bors
Comics, Politics & Ridicule

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Mailbag Douchebag – etymological dictionary edition

Ted K on my Refudiate comic:
Dear Mr. Bors, In creating a new word, Sarah Palin is walking in the footsteps of giants, and is being ridiculed in the same way. See below from an etymological dictionary: belittle 1781, "to make small," from be- + little; first recorded in writings of Thomas Jefferson (and probably coined by him), who was roundly execrated for it in England: Belittle! What an expression! It may be an elegant one in Virginia, and even perfectly intelligible; but for our part, all we can do is to guess at its meaning. For shame, Mr. Jefferson! ["European Magazine and London Review," 1787, reporting on "Notes on the State of Virginia"; to guess was considered another barbarous Yankeeism.] The figurative sense of "depreciate, scorn as worthless" (as the reviewers did to this word) is from 1797. Here is Jefferson's usage in print: "So far the Count de Buffon has carried this new theory of the tendency of nature to belittle her productions on this side the Atlantic," Jefferson wrote in 1782 in his Notes on the State of Virginia. Perhaps you can produce a similar comic strip belittling Thomas Jefferson for his word creation.
When you type a word that doesn't exist in Twitter, a red line will appear underneath it to let you know. What a belittling feature! Someone get Thomas Jefferson a reality show.
11.27.2010 |


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