[Northkeep] Pedantry : News of a propitious expressive magnitude...

Marc Carlson marccarlson20 at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 23 11:12:32 PDT 2010

> From: j.t.herring at sbcglobal.net
> See you called me on my word usage...where few others might not have...


Most people are nicer than I am :)


>I was concerned that I had not applied the correct aspects of the words used. Perhaps if I had said "of a >propitiously expressive magnitude" then it may have been a more accepted and proper usage.
> From Mirriam Websters online dictionary...

Do you really want to go there?


> Pro·pi·tious
> Pronunciation: \prə-ˈpi-shəs\
> Function: adjective 
> Etymology: Middle English propycyous, from Anglo-French propicius, from Latin propitius, probably from pro- for + petere to seek — more at pro-, feather
> Date: 15th century
> 1 : favorably disposed : benevolent
> 2 : being a good omen : auspicious <propitious sign>
> 3 : tending to favor : advantageous
> synonyms see favorable
> — pro·pi·tious·ly adverb 
> — pro·pi·tious·ness noun


Apparently you do.


OED - Propitiate

1. trans. To make well-disposed or favourably inclined; to win or regain the favour of; to appease, conciliate.

2. intr. To make propitiation; to atone for. 

 3. trans. To give favourable consideration to (a request). Obs. rare 1. 


From this derives:



 1. a. Of God, the fates, etc.: disposed to be favourable; gracious; merciful, lenient. 

      b. Of an omen or sign: of favourable import; regarded as indicative of the favourable disposition of God, the fates, etc.; auspicious. Later more generally: boding well, promising. 

 2. Presenting favourable conditions; well-suited, conducive; advantageous, opportune. Freq. with for, to. 


> Propitious being the word used to describe what may be the felt out the importance of the news or the

> news itself, as in tending to be of good favor. The word expressive is attempting to explain that there is

> meaning or feeling associated with the importance of the news. And magnitude is literally the importance,

> quality, or caliber of the feeling about the news and there by possibly the importance of the news itself.

> I hope this better conveys my attempted verbosity.

I still think you should have gone with "I understand you have some really spiffy news to share" or whatnot.  Prodigious would have worked.




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