Quotations about   terminology

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.

To a linguist, the phenomenon is familiar: the euphemism treadmill. People invent new “polite” words to refer to emotionally laden or distasteful things, but the euphemism becomes tainted by association and the new one that must be found acquires its own negative connotations. “Water closet” becomes “toilet” (originally a term for any body care, as in “toilet kit”), which becomes “bathroom,” which becomes “rest room,” which becomes “lavatory.” “Garbage collection” turns into “sanitation,” which turns into “environmental services.” The euphemism treadmill shows that concepts, not words, are in charge. Give a concept a new name, and the name becomes colored by the concept; the concept does not become freshened by the name. (We will know we have achieved equality and mutual respect when names for minorities stay put.)

Steven Pinker (b. 1954) Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, author
“The Game of the Name,” New York Times (5 Apr 1994)
Added on 2-Jun-21 | Last updated 2-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Pinker, Steven

If conservatives get to call universal health care “socialized medicine,” then I get to call private, for-profit health care “soulless, vampire bastards making money off human pain.”

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
Real Time with Bill Maher (24 Jul 2009)
Added on 22-Jun-16 | Last updated 22-Jun-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Maher, Bill

We cannot define anything precisely! If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers who sit opposite each other, one saying to the other, “You don’t know what you are talking about!”. The second one says, “What do you mean by know? What do you mean by talking? What do you mean by you?” and so on.

Richard Feynman (1918-1988) American physicist
The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume I, 8-2 “Motion” (20 Oct 1961)
Added on 25-Mar-08 | Last updated 10-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Feynman, Richard