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April 16, 2004

Decimate or obliterate?

I don't know where I read this, so if someone can tell me please do, but it has been bugging me ever since I've read it. A couple of weeks back I read about the correct definition of the word "decimate." While it's true definition is somewhat like how it is used today, ever since I've read its true definition I get overly bugged by how people are using it now. It is a curse! So, now I will pass the curse along to you. Decimate is defined as:

"Decimate originally referred to the killing of every tenth person, a punishment used in the Roman army for mutinous legions. Today this meaning is commonly extended to include the killing of any large proportion of a group."

That makes sense, doesn't it? Deci is latin for "10." So, now that you've read this, you will hear the word "decimate" everywhere. I sure have. I heard it last night when Donald Trump explained how the women on the show "The Apprentice" decimated the men in the early weeks. I heard it the last time I watched a T-Wolves game when Tom Hanneman described how the Wolves decimated the league to take the top spot in the West. I hear the word all the time, and now it bugs me to know the word is being improperly used. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Posted by snackeru at April 16, 2004 2:07 PM | Life


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