"Renaissance Man"

Discussion in 'General Language' started by Qcumber, Dec 9, 2005.

  1. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Interestingly enough, Ceit, my Webster's has polyhistor / polyhistorian, but not polymath. Conversely Collins has polymath, but not polyhistor / polyhistorian.
  2. Ceit

    Ceit Well-Known Member

    That is interesting, because I think I have heard the term polymath at some point in the past, but never polyhistor(ian). I didn't pay much attention to it though, thinking that it referred to somebody highly proficient in all divisions of mathematics and the context did nothing to prove me wrong. :oops:
  3. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Yes, Ceit, polymath, polyhistor(ian) and Renaissance man, seemed to have been coined by people who relish on ambiguity. Their terms suggest a limited meaning, but dictionaries impart them with a universal value. To me these terms rather belong to academic cant than sterling English. :lol:
  4. aspasia

    aspasia Member

    u wrote:

    "seemed to have been coined by people who relish on ambiguity."

    that sounds like American Marketing to me ... where real meaning, value or property of the product(s) are wrapped in layers and layers of fluffy words .... very confusing ...

    this is so apparent especially in high tech ... when one wants to really read and understand the underlying technology and internals of a product, for its true thing in itself ... one can never, never almost never get any real information from so-called Marketing Technical papers ... ... how can MBA grads write technology papers? oh well...

    i guess i went off tangent here ... but the above line reminded me of this very interesting, albeit sometimes annoying phenonmenon.
  5. Wicker808

    Wicker808 Well-Known Member

    It's only ambiguous if you don't know what it means. Would you suggest that we avoid the term "raining cats and dogs" because someone might think that it was literally raining cats and dogs?

    As far as I know "Renaissance man" is never used to indicate a person from that time period unless he was, in fact, a Renaissance man; that is, being erudite and well-rounded.

    And the term is sufficiently used in common, non-academic English that a terrible film starring Danny DeVito from 1994 bears that expression as a title. It is not a period film.
  6. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Obviously my case when I read Aspasia's first post.

    "Raining cats and dogs" is a well-known figurative colloquial expression. It is not used in academic speech. The registers are completely different.

    How paradoxical!

    Interesting. Thanks a lot for the information.

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