Word of the DayMonday, May 19, 2014
\VUR-buh-sahyd\ , noun;
the willful distortion or depreciation of the original meaning of a word.
a person who willfully distorts the meaning of a word.
Life and language are alike sacred. Homicide and verbicide--that is, violent treatment of a word with fatal results to its legitimate meaning, which is its life--are alike forbidden.
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes, "The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table," The Atlantic Monthly, 1857
Men often commit verbicide because they want to snatch a word as a party banner, to appropriate its 'selling quality'.
-- C.S. Lewis, Studies in Words, 1960
Verbicide joins a variant of the Latin verbum, meaning "word," with -cide, a suffix used in the formation of compound words that means "killer" or "act of killing."
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