Wednesday, March 09, 2016


Welcome to another installment of SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS, a regular Wednesday feature at NA Confidential.

But why new words? Why not the old, familiar, comforting words?

It's because a healthy vocabulary isn't about trying to show rental property owners you're smarter than them. To the contrary, it's about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one's pay grade or station in life.

Even municipal corporate attorneys are eligible for this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, for those of us watching as the mayor ingloriously fails in his first-ever effort to influence a political outcome through his innate powers of syntax-mangling persuasion, all we really have is time on our hands -- moments enough for us to learn something.

This week, we examine a noun often deployed here: Hagiography, as previously defined here:

Hagiography, Gahan-style: "We blacktopped a lot of the alleys this year."

But reinforcement is a good thing, don't you think? The British Dictionary definition strikes me as more complete, so we'll use it.



noun (pl) -phies

1. the writing of the lives of the saints
2. biography of the saints
3. any biography that idealizes or idolizes its subject

Derived Forms
hagiographic (ˌhæɡɪəˈɡræfɪk), hagiographical, adjective

The American pronunciation is slightly more clear.

[hag-ee-og-ruh-fee, hey-jee-]

I prefer sticking with the hard "g" sound, although as you can see, the soft variant is allowable.

The origin of hagiography

1805-15; hagio- + -graphy

Word Origin and History for hagiography

"Writing of saints' lives," 1821, from Greek hagios "holy" (see hagiology ) + -graphy. Related: Hagiographic (1819); hagiographical (1580s); hagiographer (1650s).

I know; it's all Greek to them, isn't it? Here are three sample sentences.

NA Confidential is a refreshing counterweight to massed volumes of Gahan hagiography, as intended by the mayor's Disneyesque subalterns as proof of his unerring political instincts.

Most of the tributes to Peyton Manning are little more than hagiography.

Warren seeks a hagiographer, but a writer with blinders of this magnitude simply cannot be located hereabouts.

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