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Stultify and Stupefy -- Writer's Poke #218

Stultify and Stupefy are two perfectly good verbs that have life only in song lyrics. I've never uttered them in a real conversation, nor do I know anyone that has.

Nevertheless, fans of Lisa Loeb and Disturbed (and yes, you can be a fan of both), recognize these words -- although they might not have an exact definition for them if asked what they mean.

I always assumed that "to stultify" meant basically to cause mental stagnation. As it turns out, this is the approximate second definition, but the first definition actually means "to make, or cause to appear foolish or ridiculous."

Stupefy sounds like it could refer to the word stupid, but the exact definition is more closely related to the word "stupor," as in to "put into a stupor."

Would you rather be stultified or stupefied? Take some time to develop and justify your response.

"The so-called clergy stupefy the masses....They befog the people and keep them in an eternal condition of stupefaction." -- Leo Tolstoy

"Laboring through a world every day more stultified, which expected salvation in codes and governments, ever more willing to settle for suburban narratives and diminished payoffs--what were the chances of finding anyone else seeking to transcend that, and not even particularly aware of it?" -- Thomas Pynchon

Comments

  1. "Laboring through a world every day more stultified, which expected salvation in codes and governments, ever more willing to settle for suburban narratives and diminished payoffs--what were the chances of finding anyone else seeking to transcend that, and not even particularly aware of it?" -- Thomas Pynchon

    Hmmm. Is President Obama a victim of this stultifying thinking?

    ReplyDelete

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