Thursday, November 30, 2006

casual

I was thinking about the word "casually." I only just realized that almost every time we use the word "casually" we actually mean "making an effort to appear casual." For example.

"What are you doing tonight?" he asked casually.

But CLEARLY it's not actually casual, it is frought with meaning and stresses him out so he's pretending to be casual about it. But all that is implied in the lying word "casually." The very word is studded with pretense and artifice and it exists only for deliberately misleading reasons. (If it were actually casual, we wouldn't use the word "casually"--we would use nothing at all. Because it wouldn't be worth qualifying.)

And yet dictionary.com, purporting to spread truth for the purposes of universal education at the press of a button, PERPETUATES THE LIE. This is what they have:

cas‧u‧al[kazh-oo-uhl] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–adjective
1.happening by chance; fortuitous: a casual meeting.
2.without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing: a casual remark.
3.seeming or tending to be indifferent to what is happening; apathetic; unconcerned: a casual, nonchalant air.
4.appropriate for wear or use on informal occasions; not dressy: casual clothes; casual wear.
5.irregular; occasional: a casual visitor.
6.accidental: a casual mishap.

1. unexpected, fortuitous, unforeseen. See accidental. 5. random.
1. planned.


Only 3 even comes close to representing the greatest part of the pie, and, without being too conspiracy-theorist here, it does so in a rather couched and misleading way.

Does no one else have a problem with this?

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