Tuesday, October 04, 2022


 You hear it everywhere.  This place, or that place was decimated in the recent storm.

Historically, a decimation was a punishment for a group of soldiers who failed to perform in combat.  The unit would be formed, and one man in ten would be killed. To encourage the others to greater exertion.

Nowadays, decimation is used to describe storm damage, when the best word to use might be devastation If an area is decimated, I expect that one in ten buildings were damaged.

It's a minor critique, but the use of one word when another is more accurate or descriptive seems to be a form of journalistic laziness these days. I know that journalists are lazy, but they should not also be stupid.  One would hope that a journalist in the US would have a basic working knowledge of the English language.  That does not seem to be the case.


Jonathan H said...

Yet another example of sloppy uneducated journalism - I see way too much of it...

be603 said...

thank you thank you thank you

my head about goes 'splodey hearing the misuse and abuse of decimate and decimation.

Alan said...

"but they should not also be stupid"

but they are. short attention span, herd mentality, take away twitter and most will be without jobs.

'decimate' is now corrupted for original meaning, for reasons above.

another pet peeve of mine (and a slapping offense) is 'co-conspirator'. you can't conspire by yourself, so now they're saying 'conspirator conspirator'.

yet once one started, rest of the herd picked it up and stampeded.