Ignorant assertions

I’m amazed sometimes at the things people say – not just because they can be particularly ignorant (although they sometimes are) but because it would take almost no effort for anyone to verify.

This is particularly obvious when it comes to etymology. I’ve pointed out other instances where individuals made assertions that were demonstrably false (to support arguments that were wrongheaded), but this one just got me:

God is not ‘innocent‘ — the word actually means ‘ignorant‘ — …

No, it most certainly does not – the root of innocent is Latin nocere, “to harm.” It is exceedingly apparent in the phrase (relevant to doctors in particular) Primum non nocere – “First, do no harm.”

Etymology is very seldom a good place to start an argument, but if you’re going to do it, at least get your facts straight.

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One Response to Ignorant assertions

  1. James Hanley says:

    Keep defending the language! I also get annoyed when people use words, or define them, wrongly.

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