Thursday, March 09, 2006



Thoreau, Journals (January 1, 1858):
There are many words which are genuine and indigenous and have their root in our natures, not made by scholars, and as well understood by the illiterate as others. There are also a great many words which are spurious and artificial, and can only be used in a bad sense, since the thing they signify is not fair and substantial, — such as the church, the judiciary, to impeach, etc., etc. They who use them do not stand on solid ground. It is vain to try to preserve them by attaching other words to them as the true church, etc. It is like towing a sinking ship with a canoe.
Thoreau, Journals (January 26, 1858):
Some men have a peculiar taste for bad words, mouthing and licking them into lumpish shapes like the bear her cubs, — words like "tribal" and "ornamentation," which drag a dead tail after them. They will pick you out of a thousand the still-born words, the falsettos, the wing-clipped and lame words, as if only the false notes caught their ears. They cry encore to all the discords.

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