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About face

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Topic: 8) About face (1 of 11), Read 146 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 08:44 AM

Patrick Ivers, of Laramie, Wyo., writes: "A friend recently challenged me to find a better but no less economic expression -- thus, preferably a single word -- for 'saving face,' 'face saving,' or 'save face.' For example, 'The American politicians searched for a diplomatic means of allowing the Russians to save face over the incident.' My friend dislikes all of the above forms of this expression but can't find a substitute. I looked everywhere I could think of.

"Wordier expressions were easy enough to find: 'keep up appearances' or 'hold onto their self-respect,' but these lacked economy. Also 'cover their asses,' while satisfying in its anatomical relocation, is obviously less dignified along with its not possessing quite the same connotation. Does this expression so dominate its niche that there exists no other suitable poecilonym?"

"Poecilonym," Patrick? Do tell.

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Topic: 8) About face (2 of 11), Read 138 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 10:40 AM

It's also not hard to find substitutes that are even more economic overall when being more specific.

American politicians allowed the Russians an honorable withdrawl.

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Topic: 8) About face (3 of 11), Read 33 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: John Palshook (shlook@aol.com)
Date: Monday, August 09, 1999 12:55 PM

I know that the word, 'volte' signifies, to put simply, an about-face. This is as close as I can think of. Perhaps a different form of the word exists that hits what you're looking for on the money.

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Topic: 8) About face (4 of 11), Read 32 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Monday, August 09, 1999 01:31 PM

On 8/9/99 12:55:12 PM, John Palshook wrote:
>I know that the word, 'volte'
>signifies, to put simply, an
>about-face.

actually, I think the term is volte-face, a facing about esp. in policy: about-face

today's wwftd is...

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Topic: 8) About face (5 of 11), Read 130 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 12:53 PM

re: poecilonym

I think Patrick may have been reaching for a synonym for synonym; poecilonymy is the use of several names for one thing.

today's wwftd is...

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Topic: 8) About face (6 of 11), Read 121 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Mark Williams (sugarwolfe@yahoo.com)
Date: Friday, June 25, 1999 04:27 AM

The example used >>> The American politicians searched for a diplomatic means of allowing the Russians to save face over the incident

The rewrite >>> The American politicians searched for a diplomatic solution that would preserve Russian dignity and resolve the incident.

The original example is snide and immature. It presumes error and contributes nothing towards a meaningful resolution. The other party is inferior and of little consequence. That is poor diplomacy.

The rewrite acknowledges that it "takes two to Tango." It also focuses on the solution without getting "hung up" on who's to blame. The word you're looking for is dignity, not saving face.

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Topic: 8) About face (7 of 11), Read 116 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Friday, June 25, 1999 06:36 PM

if you're going to talk "diplomacy" you better account for cultural differences -- "saving face" is a very important concept in many cultures, particularly those of the orient.

today's wwftd is...

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Topic: 8) About face (8 of 11), Read 116 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Mark Williams (sugarwolfe@yahoo.com)
Date: Saturday, June 26, 1999 04:14 PM

It still boils down to preserving one's personal, family, cultural, ethnic, or national dignity.

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Topic: 8) About face (9 of 11), Read 75 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Steve Kinsky (skinsky236@juno.com)
Date: Saturday, July 17, 1999 02:42 PM

Seems to me that the word - if one exists - would have to come from the Chinese ... come to think of it, does anyone know ANY English words in common usage that derive from the Chinese language?

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Topic: 8) About face (10 of 11), Read 76 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Steve Kinsky (skinsky236@juno.com)
Date: Saturday, July 17, 1999 02:42 PM

Seems to me that the word - if one exists - would have to come from the Chinese ... come to think of it, does anyone know ANY English words in common usage that derive from the Chinese language?

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Topic: 8) About face (11 of 11), Read 58 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Caroline Sherman (caroline_sherman@hotmail.com)
Date: Friday, July 23, 1999 05:05 AM

The Koreans have a word that is often translated as "face": 'kibun' (key-boon). The literal translation is "feelings," but culturally it is used to mean self-esteem and dignity. In Korea, injuring someone's kibun is, to mix borrowed languages, a major faux pas.

Since there are many Korean-Americans, it would be nice if the word could make its way into American English. However, I don't know of a verb form, so the expression might have to be "preserve kibun," which takes twice as long to say as "save face."

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Topic: 8) About face (1 of 1), Read 18 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Paul Hendrick (phendrick@acmail.blinncol.edu)
Date: Thursday, August 19, 1999 05:40 PM

An offering to Steve:

The words "wok" and "kung fu" come to mind.

Or by "English words in common usage that
derive from the Chinese language" did you mean words in an English dictionary that aren't actually Chinese words, but stem from such?


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