Monday, September 14, 2015

Belying Belie

We've already lost the useful phrase "begs the question" to the lame non-equivalent "raises the question." It's reached the point where you can't even use the phrase with its original meaning because no one seems to realize it exists.

The same has been happening to "belie," though it's not used as often in the pundit world. I noted this once earlier, but today I saw a great example of how the word is turned inside out, somehow magically changing from

  • contradict
  • prove false
  • run counter to
  • reveal the underlying truth
  • betray (through words)
Reading a Washington Post story, reprinted in the Pioneer Press, about how Pope Francis faces challenges from more conservative factions in the Vatican, I came across this nonsensical bit of copy:

Well, it's nonsensical if you know what "belie" means. Clearly, the copy editors at the Washington Post and the PiPress do not.

That is, if they still have copy editors.

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