One of the headlines in the paper yesterday was:

Inspectors Fear Iran Is Hiding Nuclear Plants

I wrote that in my opinion they were welcome to them because I certainly did not wish to have any of those in my gardens.

I asked, “Can you imagine what they’d do to the poor roses?”

The responses were anything from Huh? to a dissertation on the subject of Armageddon.

My comment was, however, not intended to encourage discourse on the subject of nuclear arms control, but instead the way we use and/or mis-use words.

A plant – “is a living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses, typically growing in a permanent site, absorbing water and inorganic substances through its roots, and synthesizing nutrients in its leaves by photosynthesis using the green pigment chlorophyll.”

A factory, or foundry, or… in the archaic (a manufactory), “is a place where one manufactures finished goods by processing raw materials.”

As I hypothesised, the words that people picked out were ‘Nuclear’ and ‘Iran’ , which was why they ‘looked askance at my cavalier attitude toward fanaticism’ and wondered.

Which, I must admit, was the point of the posting: How often we mis-use words.

We see and hear terms like this used so often in the print press, on television and radio, on the Internet, and even in textbooks, that we become so inured to this arbitrary assimilation/usurpation of their definition that we adopt the usage.

We may all speak English… but in truth… We do not.

Which, when speaking to someone who speaks a different language, or even to someone who speaks the same language but who is from a different country… is, like Douglas Adams Babel Fish, the primary cause of misunderstandings that have so often led to long, bloody wars.

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