Word of the Day : February 6, 2018

logomachy

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noun loh-GAH-muh-kee

Definition

1 : a dispute over or about words

2 : a controversy marked by verbiage

Did You Know?

It doesn't take much to start people arguing about words, but there's no quarrel about the origin of logomachy. It comes from the Greek roots logos, meaning "word" or "speech," and machesthai, meaning "to fight," and it entered English in the mid-1500s. If you're a word enthusiast, you probably know that logos is the root of many English words (monologue, neologism, logic, and most words ending in -logy, for example), but what about other derivatives of machesthai? Actually, this is a tough one even for word whizzes. Only a few very rare English words come from machesthai. Here are two of them: heresimach ("an active opponent of heresy and heretics") and naumachia ("an ancient Roman spectacle representing a naval battle").


Examples

"All politics is local, and that goes double for school politics. But just what does 'local' mean? Georgians are going to have an argument about that word between now and the November referendum on the proposed Opportunity School District. A great logomachy over localism, if you like." — Kyle Wingfield, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11 Sept. 2016

"Not that anyone could accuse this city of lacking logophiles—that's 'lovers of words,' if you have to ask. But where could word warriors go to engage in spirited logomachy?" — Ron Fletcher, The Boston Globe, 29 Apr. 2007



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