Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

PALINSPASTIC is a real word in my OED

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-10-26

With a hat tip to Language Log, it’s worth passing on a gigglefest about the possibilities of punning with "palin", a Greek word root with associations of going back or repeating again (yep, I know!).

Most folk are familiar with PALINDROME, which is the same going forward as back (like "rotor"), so we can pun about VP-wannabe Sarah as not sure whether she is coming or going.

But wait… there’s more fun to be had if you find a few less common words in the OED that I’ll share with you, and even the use of the "palin-" word root by academics to describe fascism (since at least 2003).  I’d love to hear of any others from the full OED (I only have the Shorter), or see any of these terms explained in the mainstream media.

A retraction of an assertion from an earlier poem is a PALINODE.  How long before that is a totally appropriate term if Sarah Palin has to issue an "Oops!  Got that wrong…. awww shucks!  About that ex-brother-in-law,… I didn’t quite get across to you what actually happened…."

Then there is PALINGENESIS a term in biology meaning "development of organisms in accordance with the ancestral type; spec. the exact reproduction of ancestral characteristics in ontogenesis. " This is a giggle given her stance on Genesis versus Darwin.  The wikipedia on palingenesis talks of theological, philosophical and political use of the term.

…the doctrines which are used to comprise the political ideology of fascism often move to describe it as a "palingenetic ideology", primarily as a result of the notion that fascism itself is the rebirth of a state and/or empire in the image of that which came before it – thus, the ancestral political underpinnings." Specifically, academic political theorist Roger Griffin refers to fascism as "palingenetic ultranationalism"

And, finally, PALINSPASTIC, a geological term (not yet included on the LanguageLog post) meaning "Of a map, diagram, etc.: representing layers of rock as returned to their supposed former positions".

But what about the famous Michael of Python fame?  With all his travel docos, the natives of far-away places are probably saying "Here comes Palin again".

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One Response to “PALINSPASTIC is a real word in my OED”

  1. […] vice-wannabe-prez Sarah Palin going back to where she came from, along with the rocks in her head, PALINSPASTIC is a particularly good word for the day. Posted in […]

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