l> Stake in the floor
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• The fight Of the Binge• The art of Darkness• be Medicareful• permit the gamings Begin • Stake in the Ground• Mondays through Morris• What They to be Thinking
THE way WE LIVE NOWON LANGUAGE BY william SAFIRE

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Stiffen those linguistic sinews.

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think it is essential to placed a stake in the ground," stated Gov. George W. Bush, "and come say, 'Enough is enough,' once it comes to trying to dig up people's backgrounds in politics."

Eight years before, a autonomous candidate, Paul Tsongas, supplied the same an allegory of decision in a Des Moines speech: "The Iowa caucuses are an integral component of any kind of sense of American politics, and also I intended to put my stake in the soil here."

This is a metaphor of determination, through a western flavor. That is rooted in, or has actually a stake firmly planted in, the laying that a claim to a piece of territory, owned by nobody, for mining or farm yard use. The rush for land after ~ the Civil battle popularized the phrase (along v doing a land-office business). The stakes thrust in the ground were the markers used to short article the boundaries of a homestead; this led to an additional phrase, to pull up stakes, which way "to move on" come greener pastures.

George Dubyuh's usage of stake in the ground instantly called come mind a comparable trope referred to as up by his father, president Bush, ~ Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990: "A line has been drawn in the sand." This expression may have stemmed from the circle drawn in the sand around the Syrian King Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 B.C. Through the roman envoy Popilius Laenas, that ordered the king to agree to withdraw his pressures from Alexandria prior to he might step out of the circle.

the is an extremely unlikely that President bush had this illustration in mind. Regardless of the elder Bush's passive construction, the phrase evoked the Alamo legend, in which william Barret Travis, besieged through a mexico army, offered his knife to attract a line in the soil (or sand), saying, "Those ready to die for freedom's cause, come across to me." One hundred eighty-nine did, and also died. The President's son, George W., in a fund-raising letter the contrary Ann Richards's election as governor of Texas in 1990, wrote, "When Col. Travis drew the line in the sand in ~ the Alamo, the discovered automatically who had actually the courage to stand and fight for the Texas Republic." 3 weeks later, President bush used the metaphor challenging Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

as a brand-new political project approaches, metaphors of intestinal fortitude, or gutsiness — cool, courageous decision — will be at a premium. Not all are suitable in do the antiflinching point; because that example, rod to her guns, an initial used in 1881 together a variant of stand to her guns, might backfire on a proponent of gun control. Stand her ground, however, has actually a stalwart image, especially due to the fact that it was extended beyond military use in "On Liberty" by john Stuart Mill in 1859: "It is not simple to see how it have the right to stand that ground." (A comparable construction, the 17th-century was standing to one's pan-pudding, never caught on in America and also is unlikely to be recommended by political dispute consultants.)

hold the line, however, has actually a pretty connotation of army firmness v an overlay the college-football bravado. It is the very same symbolic line as that attracted in the sand, as if between two crest in the ground. The related hold the fort says that someone else act through fortitude until assist arrives; it is acquired from a blog post that Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union military sent to the garrison at Allatoona, Ga., in 1864: "Hold the fort, for ns am coming." castle then drew a line in the sand, placed their stakes in the ground and also stood to their pan-pudding.

the opposite of every the over is to shift one's ground, occasionally a crucial maneuver yet inviting the derogation shifty.

NUTRACEUTICALS

A spelling dispute is about to explode around the word that means "a food or part of a food that has actually a medical or wellness benefit, including the prevention and also treatment that disease." level bread supplemented with calcium, vitamin D, folate, dietary fiber and also a shot of St. Johnswort or whatever becomes a nutraceutical, uneven you like to spell that nutriceutical, through an i, as in nutrition.

I confirm it out through the coiner, Dr. Stephen L. DeFelice, now the head that the structure for innovation in Medicine. His spokesman defined that the 1989 coinage is assignment nutra, with an a, top top the analogy that pharmaceutical, with its Greek source pharmak.

got to directly, however, DeFelice said, "To tell friend the truth, i was drink grappa in Rome one day and nutra sounded much better than nutri."

that asserts "coiner's privilege," and the enhanced, enriched, jazzed-up food — together both noun and also adjective — is spelled nutraceutical.

PHLOGGING IT

"The real writer is one/who yes, really writes," writes the poet Marge Piercy. "Talent/is an creation like phlogiston/after the fact of fire."

In "Fooling v Words: A solemn event of Poets and also Their Craft," the TV documentarian invoice Moyers, quoting this poem, request the author around the meaning of the unfamiliar indigenous phlogiston.

"Phlogiston was a pre-19th-century explanation because that why things burned," Piercy replied. "People said things burned since they had phlogiston. It always struck me together the perfect instance of a false explanation."

for two years I have awaited someone else's use of words that to be rendered obsolete by the exploration of the nature of oxygen. The i can not forget S.J. Perelman, in sending me his hefty arsenal of hilarious works that that scorned to title "The finest of" — he decided "The most of S.J.


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Perelman" — inscriptions it with his good wishes "together v a little jar of Antiphlogiston to rub on his deltoids must he check out this compendium in bed."

Table of components October 24, 1999

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