Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Devil's Dictionary: Discriminate (v.i.)

To note the particulars in which one person or thing is, if possible, more objectionable than another.

(Note, by the way, that Bierce wrote before the impoverishment of the language by politics had reduced the word "discriminate" to the limited and largely useless sense in which it is today used; in his day, the ability to "discriminate" was, quite properly, a necessary accomplishment for all who aspired to wisdom, and thus this definition had in his day a comic point largely lost in ours. The fact that the verb is now used solely as a term of abuse, thanks to the influence of politicians and demagogues, is an excellent indicator of whether politicans and demagogues desire that populace to be wise whom they wish to manipulate and exploit.)


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