This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Word To Use Today: verisimilitude.


It sounds like a leaf blown on the wind - dipping and lifting and twirling and in the end diving down to the ground.



Although verisimilitude is a beautiful word, it's a bit long for...well, for anyone much except pompous people. This is very sad.

Still, one can have a lot of fun with pompous poeple:

"Merely corroborative detail to add verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative." Those are the words of Poo-Bah in The Mikado, and the person having fun with him was W.S. Gilbert.

Unfortunately the pompous people can't always be ignored altogether. Verisimilitude in science is a measure of how true a scientific theory is. Karl Popper worked along the lines that the more true things went into a theory, the more completely true the theory would be.

Verisimilitude in art has been worried over even longer - since Aristotle, in fact. The basic idea is that for people to enjoy a work of art they must believe in it, and this requires the work of art to be as close as possible to how they really are.

Luckily you don't have to be a scientist or an artist to use the word verisimilitude.

But I must admit it helps.

Word To Use Today (but probably not out loud): verisimilitude.  This word comes to English from the Latin vērisimilitūdō, from verus, true, and similitūdō, which means, er, similitude.

No comments:

Post a Comment