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Not my specialty

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Topic: 10) Not my specialty (1 of 5), Read 189 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Wednesday, June 30, 1999 09:24 AM

Don Warren, of Austin, Texas, writes: "I would like to know if there is a label for the category of words or phrases that is meaningful to nonspecialists but not to specialists. Some examples are 'Did she do the decent thing?' (meaningful to all but ethicists), 'Isn't that just human nature?' (meaningful to all but psychologists), and 'Did he have a heart attack?' (meaningful to all but cardiologists).

"The last example is a tougher sell than the first two but let me mention that the phrase 'heart attack' does not appear in Stedman's Medical Dictionary (25th edition, 1990) among over 40 words or phrases that begin with the letters h-e-a-r-t. And by logical extension, I doubt that a cerebrovascular stroke, fractured skull, sinusitis, and acne could be subsumed under 'head attack'?"

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Topic: 10) Not my specialty (2 of 5), Read 189 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Wednesday, June 30, 1999 12:16 PM

common or layman's language

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Topic: 10) Not my specialty (3 of 5), Read 147 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Saturday, July 10, 1999 10:24 PM

>common or layman's language

in layman's terms, that would be referred to as "in layman's terms".
8-)

today's wwftd is...

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Topic: 10) Not my specialty (4 of 5), Read 148 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barry Hammel (bhammel@inbio.ac.cr)
Date: Saturday, July 10, 1999 06:00 PM

"Popularizm" is not in the dictionary I have at hand, but it seems an appropriate word for this definition.

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Topic: 10) Not my specialty (5 of 5), Read 143 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Aaron Reneker (zanazarius@yahoo.com)
Date: Saturday, July 10, 1999 11:18 PM

I read somewhere (God only knows where) about this--the author referred to these types of words/phrases as CAT, or Commonly Accepted Terminology. While I doubt we could therefore call "heart attack" a CATch phrase (sorry, sorry, it just came out), we could just call commonly-known words and phrases for professional lexicon, "short-CATs." Oy, it's getting late...

Aaron Reneker

P.S. The CAT I referred to is true, but I'll be flummoxed if I can remember the source. Thirty years old and already losing my mind.


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