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Re: GnuTLS in Debian

Thomas Hochstein <thh@inter.net> writes:
> Russ Allbery schrieb:
>> "Bernhard R. Link" <brlink@debian.org> writes:

>>> Could you please stop using that word "idiosyncratic".

>> I believe idiosyncratic is exactly the correct term:

>>   idiosyncratic
>>       adj 1: peculiar to the individual; "we all have our own
>>              idiosyncratic gestures"; "Michelangelo's highly
>>              idiosyncratic style of painting"

>> and therefore decline to stop using it.

> At least for the non-native speaker of English "idiosyncratic" may rhyme
> very unfortunately with "idiotic"; that may be Bernhard's point.

Yeah, I saw that also in Bernhard's reply.  That confusion had honestly
never occurred to me before since, despite the visual similarities, the
words are completely unrelated in English.  The etymologies are disjoint:
idiot comes from French and hence from Latin and dates back to the 1400s,
whereas idiosyncratic has an independent derivation from Greek root words
meaning "mixed together" and has existed independently with roughly its
current meaning since the 1600s.

Idiosyncratic and idiosyncrasy have not, historically, had a negative
connotation beyond the definition that they are peculiar to individual
organizations or institutions.  Consider, for example, some of the
following citations from the OED:

1839   H. Hallam Introd. Lit. Europe III. vi. 596   The elaborate
       delineations of Jonson, or the marked idiosyncracies of

1918   F. E. Pierce Currents & Eddies in Eng. Romantic Generation
       i. iii. 85   The frame of the old ballad even..was a legacy of the
       ardour, the life, and the idiosyncrasy of the Northmen who left
       their descendants in our glens.

1949   Punch 13 May 636/2   Universities do not exist to lay on degree
       courses to follow the idiosyncratic requirements of a particular

2003   E. Gregg & R. Trillo Rough Guide to Gambia 50/1   The Gambia's most
       idiosyncratic Christmas tradition is its fanal processions, unique
       to the Kombos.

I'm sorry for the confusion for non-native speakers.  English has a bad
habit of drawing words from all sorts of different languages and thus
creating a lot of accidental similarities between words that have no
relationship to each other.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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