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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Most Malignant Malapropisms

    I just listened to the GM Word of the Week podcast on "Eldritch," which talked about the "Lovecraft words" that GMs throw into flavor text as filler without using them properly, and I've been watching a lot of Raising Hope lately. So I've had malapropisms on the mind.

    What's your most vexing misused word in gaming? I get really frustrated whenever people get the "die/dice" pluralization backward. I get it - you use the plural more often than the singular - but still.

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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    I am pretty guilty as describing a race as sentient when I mean to say sapient. While it is true that sapient races are sentient, I still use the wrong word most of the time.
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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by Geddy2112 View Post
    I am pretty guilty as describing a race as sentient when I mean to say sapient. While it is true that sapient races are sentient, I still use the wrong word most of the time.
    You probably meant specie, not race
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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Species may be the more accurate term, but it sounds sci-fi-y and out of place for a fantasy world without such sci-fi themes, while 'race' would still fit in the same fantasy world.

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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by Geddy2112 View Post
    I am pretty guilty as describing a race as sentient when I mean to say sapient. While it is true that sapient races are sentient, I still use the wrong word most of the time.
    I'll be honest: while I'm usually a stickler for precision, the arguments over which specifically means what so often devolve to the point where the only agreement is that NEITHER "properly" means what people want to say when they use them in conversation (i.e., that a creature has an intelligence and self-awareness on a human level, above that of any animal, and is thus a person worthy of equal rights to any human being) that striving for precision there leads only to confusion and inability to properly discuss the subject. Thus, I will use the two interchangeably and colloquially, rather than precisely denotatively.


    One that inordinately bugs me is when people refer to "a criteria" or, worse, "several criterions." "Criteria" is the plural of "criterion."

    One that I use on purpose which throws some people is the "-trix" or "-tix" suffix for female versions of words. It actively does bother me when people refer to a male "Incantatrix." The male is an "Incantatar."

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    The male is an "Incantatar."
    'Incantator', yes?

    One of my friends recently showed me some DM notes, and I realized that he and his group use 'murder hole' when they mean 'arrow slit'.
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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by Geddy2112 View Post
    I am pretty guilty as describing a race as sentient when I mean to say sapient. While it is true that sapient races are sentient, I still use the wrong word most of the time.
    Eh, sentient vs sapient isn't that big an issue, there is a technical definition difference, but colloquially they mean the same thing.

    A better malapropism would be a species that displays the same sufficience as humans.
    Last edited by Beleriphon; 2016-05-26 at 10:04 AM.

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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    Eh, sentient vs sapient isn't that big an issue, there is a technical definition difference, but colloquially they mean the same thing.

    A better malapropism would be a species that displays the same sufficience as humans.
    You've lost me on this one; I fear I do not know what you mean. This may be a use of the term with which I am unfamiliar, or it may be that I'm missing a joke.


    One that always amuses me is when "elf" or "dwarf" is called a "species." (Heck, I think technically using "species" as a singular is wrong; it might be "specie.") Elves and orcs, at the very least, are races of a greater species that includes humans: we wouldn't have half-elves and half-orcs, otherwise. Whether dwarves or gnomes or halflings really are a separate specie unto themselves probably depends on the setting.

    Of course, dragons seem to be members of every species...or magic just makes the very definition of the word meaningless.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    species is the correct singular term.

    If in case of elfs, dwarfs, orcs etc. species or race is correct, is a matter of debate.
    Yes, being able to have common offspring is a big indicator. But there are always exceptions https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ligerhttp://.

    And even if standard fantasy does feature half elfs and half orcs, it doesn't feature any elf/orc hybrids, an omission that would be strange when they are only different races.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    You've lost me on this one; I fear I do not know what you mean. This may be a use of the term with which I am unfamiliar, or it may be that I'm missing a joke.
    Malapropisms are specifically using a word that does not mean what the speaker intends at all. I've essentially changed sufficient to sufficience in place of sentience or sapience.

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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    edit either ninja or need to read other people posts better
    technically they could be different species because species is such a nebulous thing for example polar bears and brown bears are separate species because they are geographically isolated but they actually can reproduce and produce viable young

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species_problem
    Last edited by awa; 2016-05-26 at 11:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    You've lost me on this one; I fear I do not know what you mean. This may be a use of the term with which I am unfamiliar, or it may be that I'm missing a joke.


    One that always amuses me is when "elf" or "dwarf" is called a "species." (Heck, I think technically using "species" as a singular is wrong; it might be "specie.") Elves and orcs, at the very least, are races of a greater species that includes humans: we wouldn't have half-elves and half-orcs, otherwise. Whether dwarves or gnomes or halflings really are a separate specie unto themselves probably depends on the setting.

    Of course, dragons seem to be members of every species...or magic just makes the very definition of the word meaningless.
    Biologists have multiple different definitions of the word species. All of which are useful but have different criteria. As such Elves and Dwarves are both separate and the same species depending on the definition used. They are probably the same species if they can interbreed to create viable offspring lineages. However they are also phenotypically distant enough to be considered separate species. If they did have a common ancestor, then we would expect the two populations to be undergoing speciation(one species splitting into more than one). In that process the phenotypical differences typically occur before the reproductive compatibility diverges.

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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    It bothers me when people say "fire an arrow" when they aren't actually burning it.

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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Apocalypse...

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    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    Apocalypse...
    In a similar vein, 'decimation'.
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    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    In a similar vein, 'decimation'.
    Yes! That one actually grates each time I hear it used incorrectly, because I initially expect it to mean its denotative meaning. So it doesn't sound all that bad, to me, until I realize what they meant.



    Tangentially, "decimate" is used as a term-of-art in signal processing. It is used incorrectly, there, too, but in a strange way: "decimate-by-two" means "remove every other sample." "Decimate-by-ten" would be literal, denotative decimation, as you remove every 10th sample.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Tangentially, "decimate" is used as a term-of-art in signal processing. It is used incorrectly, there, too, but in a strange way: "decimate-by-two" means "remove every other sample." "Decimate-by-ten" would be literal, denotative decimation, as you remove every 10th sample.
    "Completly Decimated" would often be used correctly in this case then ?

    The 10 in Decimated is a figurative number anyway.
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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    "Completly Decimated" would often be used correctly in this case then ?

    The 10 in Decimated is a figurative number anyway.
    Er, it does literally mean, "reduce by one-tenth."

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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    It bothers me when people say "fire an arrow" when they aren't actually burning it.
    As opposed to those loose arrows, that will be loosed from any old bow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    As opposed to those loose arrows, that will be loosed from any old bow.
    Often loose in the quiver too...or in the shipping crate...
    No matter where you go...there you are!

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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Er, it does literally mean, "reduce by one-tenth."
    Literally yes, figuratively no.
    π = 4
    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' — Actually it's worse than that.


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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Yes! That one actually grates each time I hear it used incorrectly, because I initially expect it to mean its denotative meaning. So it doesn't sound all that bad, to me, until I realize what they meant.



    Tangentially, "decimate" is used as a term-of-art in signal processing. It is used incorrectly, there, too, but in a strange way: "decimate-by-two" means "remove every other sample." "Decimate-by-ten" would be literal, denotative decimation, as you remove every 10th sample.
    But decimate hasn't really been used to mean "offing a tenth of your troops for being naughty" for a long time; I mean even if you're looking at the dictionary definition, the Roman usage is secondary to the more commonly used, "kill/destroy/pillage with extreme prejudice".

    I just feel like it's a bit of a hypercorrection to suggest that we should only use words in their original form and meaning, even if that original meaning has been defunct as an action for AT LEAST hundreds of years, if not thousands.

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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    How about "bonii" instead "bonuses?" I know that "bonus" has roots in Latin, but come on, it's well-bastardized by English now.

    "Malus" is just egregious, though. It sounds too much like "Malice" and there is already a word for the opposite of "bonus" anyways, and that would be "penalty."
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    Quote Originally Posted by kraftcheese View Post
    But decimate hasn't really been used to mean "offing a tenth of your troops for being naughty" for a long time; I mean even if you're looking at the dictionary definition, the Roman usage is secondary to the more commonly used, "kill/destroy/pillage with extreme prejudice".

    I just feel like it's a bit of a hypercorrection to suggest that we should only use words in their original form and meaning, even if that original meaning has been defunct as an action for AT LEAST hundreds of years, if not thousands.
    My complaint is less "it's not the original Roman usage" and more that "deci-" literally means "one-tenth."

    It's an etymological complaint more than anything else.

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    My problem with "decimate" is when it's used to mean complete or near-complete destruction; that should be "annihilate." I'd use "decimate" if something were seriously damaged, but not to the point that it was completely destroyed, e.g., an annihilated city is razed from the face of the earth, while a decimated city will never be the same, but can continue functioning in hardship.

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    The misuse of infamous irks me to no end.

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    Default Re: Most Malignant Malapropisms

    How about djinni/djinn, efreeti/effreet? The ones with the -i are singular. They're not from Latin, people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    How about "bonii" instead "bonuses?" I know that "bonus" has roots in Latin, but come on, it's well-bastardized by English now.
    It wouldn't even be bonii. That'd be the plural for bonius if it existed. The plural for bonus is boni.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    "Malus" is just egregious, though. It sounds too much like "Malice" and there is already a word for the opposite of "bonus" anyways, and that would be "penalty."
    There's another one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff the Green View Post
    How about djinni/djinn, efreeti/effreet? The ones with the -i are singular. They're not from Latin, people.

    It wouldn't even be bonii. That'd be the plural for bonius if it existed. The plural for bonus is boni.
    If in doubt, stick some "i"s on the end. Latin plurals go for everything, right?

    I've recently got back into playing Rome Total War (the original) and its three families, the Julii (no problems here), the Scipii (um) and the Brutii (lord help us).
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    The way Roman family names work, "Julii" is the plural for members of the "Julia" family (or gens). Men of the family use "Julius" as their proper name. So the "house of the Julii" is not incorrect in itself, although the "house of Julia" would arguably be moreso.

    The "Scipii" are clearly meant to reference the famous Scipio and his family. Scipio, however, is not a gens name, it's a cognomen. A hereditary cognomen, it's true, but not in itself a family name per se. The family name for most of the Scipios was "Cornelia" (therefore Cornelius, Cornelii) although because Scipio was a cognomen, if they were adopted into other families they would sometimes keep the Scipio name while otherwise leaving the family, as with the last significant Scipio, who was a Caecilius Metellus, not a Cornelius.

    To make matters worse, the plural of "Scipio" isn't "Scipii", it's "Scipiones" (in Latin) or "Scipios" in English.

    "Brutii" suffers from the same problem. Like "Scipio", it's a cognomen, not a family name (that's "Junia/Junius/Junii" for their family). And, again, "Brutii" isn't the plural for "Brutus" but for "Brutius".

    It's not even consistent in its inaccuracy, since "Julii" is correct. To match the others, it should be "Caesarii". In a game which is otherwise mostly fairly well-researched, it's maddening.


    One I ran into recently was "arquebi" as a plural for "arquebus". No.
    "Pegasi" is another common one. I can just about accept that "pegasus" now refers to a type of creature as opposed to a proper noun, but "pegasi" always grates for some reason.
    D&D's "medusas" and "gorgons" similarly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    Scipii (um)
    That would be the Cornelii Scipiones, a branch of the Cornelii family.

    Edit: What did you hide all that in a spoiler for?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    One that always amuses me is when "elf" or "dwarf" is called a "species." (Heck, I think technically using "species" as a singular is wrong; it might be "specie.")
    Sure looks like it ought to be, doesn't it? But actually, "species" began as a Latin word, and really is the singular form. "Specie" is the ablative case, and is rarely seen in academic language in the expression "in specie", which translates as "in appearance". Using "specie" as a singular form in English in any other way is incorrect.

    And yes, "species" is its own plural form, like "fish" or "deer".

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Elves and orcs, at the very least, are races of a greater species that includes humans: we wouldn't have half-elves and half-orcs, otherwise. Whether dwarves or gnomes or halflings really are a separate specie unto themselves probably depends on the setting.

    Of course, dragons seem to be members of every species...or magic just makes the very definition of the word meaningless.
    That's good real-world science, akin to the knowledge that fireballs don't appear out of nowhere, that there are 92 naturally occurring elements, and that humans cannot levitate or fly.

    Magic makes virtually all technical scientific generalities invalid. In a world in which energy is not conserved, people can be turned to stone and back, wingless creatures can fly, and the cube-square law is clearly not even a guideline, there's no basis for assuming separate species can't interbreed - especially when there are so many examples of them doing so.

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