On Words and Miscommunicating

Words“Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way”. (words and music by Mac Davis)

Our Oakland mayor who was just defeated for a second term has a most assiduous staff which used to bombard me with emails almost every day. After our recent election an email showed up to thank me for my vote. It said: “I am humbled by your support”. In the first place I voted for her opponent, and secondly what has “humbled” got to do with the situation? Why not say “grateful” or “appreciative”? Truly humble and modest people generally do not run for office, do not put themselves forward in any way and certainly do not advertise their humility.

Churchill famously characterized Clement Attlee as “a modest man who has much to be modest about.” Business letters used to contain the closing phrase: I am Sir (Madam) your most humble and obedient servant. We don’t use this Dickensian phraseology any more.

Here is another “miswordism” It is not a spoonerism or malapropism. (I checked). Newscaster: “We’ll see you again at 9.” Doesn’t she mean: You’ll see us again at 9? I sure hope she is not peeking into my living room.

New words added to the Merriam Webster dictionary. In 2013: selfie. It may be a new word but not a new concept. Painters who could not afford models sat in front of a mirror and painted themselves. It was called self-portraiture.

And for a finish here is a quiz question. If you are, like me, a Jeopardy watcher, you may have seen it recently as it was a “final Jeopardy” question: What three letter verb has the most entries in the Oxford English Dictionary? By the way I picked the wrong one. The answer next time!

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Jay
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Jay

The verb can’t be ‘am’ so how about ‘are’?
Not about me but about you (you are) and us (we are)!
Note:
I didn’t do an Internet search and will stay tuned till next time…

Am glad your candidate for mayor won.
Happy Holidays!

Dina Cramer
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Dina Cramer

I have always wondered why people who receive an award say that they are humbled by it. It always seemed like it should be the opposite. I guess they want to sound modest as in: “I didn’t deserve it.” But there must be some other way to say that.

vividconceptual
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vividconceptual

Enjoyed reading it. I am glad Kwan is defeated because I think she is not smart enough to run for an office. I liked the new word selfie, and I still like it, but you are right the concept was there. Is the three-letter verb “get”? It was fun reading and looking forward to the next blog.

simone
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simone

I will wait to see if there any more comments and then give the answer to the quiz

Jay
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Jay

I lost final Jeopardy… For contestants who do become champions they should not be ‘humbled’ by their achievement. Below is the list of the most common 3-letter words in English, BUT it does NOT contain the answer to Simone Says question! You’ve got to read those Jeopardy questions carefully: “What three letter verb has the most “entries” in the Oxford English Dictionary? The Most Common Three Letter Words The following words are all words that we use often. These words make up a big part of our language and our speech with other human beings whether we are talking, texting,… Read more »

simone
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simone

The answer to the quiz question is:RUN