Saturday, July 14, 2018

MSNBC, sheesh

“If he demures. . . .”

Garner’s Modern English Usage on the intransitive verb demur (“to object; take exception”; “to hesitate or decline because of doubts”) and the adjective demure (“reserved, modest,” "coy in an affected way"): “The words are also confused in speech, when demure /di-myuur/ is said instead of demur /di-mǝr/.”

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comments: 4

Daughter Number Three said...

Got me on that one. (I try to be honest with myself and others about the things I don't know.) Though I don't think I've ever heard anyone say the verb out loud.

Michael Leddy said...

I’m not sure when I last heard the verb, but I almost startled at demures. Then agsin, when I was much younger, I thought Goethe rhymed with both. Everybody goofs, but I expect better from the news.

Daughter Number Three said...

I realized after I posted the comment that I've probably mostly seen it used in past tense, so it would have the "e" of "ed" and therefore no way to tell from context that the verb doesn't have an "e" on the end.

Michael Leddy said...

I wonder if the confusion with the words has something to do with the way hesitating or declining (say, to answer a question) might be thought of as coyness.

(For agsin, read again. Dang phone.)