Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Webster Word-of-the-Day: Logomachy

Webster Word-of-the-Day





1 : a dispute over or about words
*2 : a controversy marked by verbiage

Example Sentence

The surprising election results have opened the floodgates of logomachy in the political media outlets.


It doesn't take much to start people arguing about words, but there's no quarrel about the origin of "logomachy." It comes from the Greek roots "logos," meaning "word" or "speech," and "machesthai," meaning "to fight," and it entered English in the mid-1500s. If you're a word enthusiast, you probably know that "logos" is the root of many English words ("monologue," "neologism," "logic," and most words ending in "-logy," for example), but what about other derivatives of "machesthai"? Actually, this is a tough one even for word whizzes. Only a few very rare English words come from "machesthai." Here are two of them: "heresimach" ("an active opponent of heresy and heretics") and "naumachia" ("an ancient Roman spectacle representing a naval battle").

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