or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Get Out

Sometimes I feel forgiving and will allow the users of my beloved language their little peccadilloes and errors. Sometimes I will say, "Hey, if people want to use 'data' as a singular noun or pronounce 'February' as 'Febyooary', that's just fine by me". This, however, is not one of those times.

From a Salon.com article about the forthcoming (and, I am thinking, rather ghastly-looking) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:

"Wonka is fabulously unphased when, one after another, the kids break the rules and suffer ignominious fates."

What the writer is trying to use here is a word that means "blithely unconcerned". But that word is "unfazed". "Phase" means a few things, but "disconcert" is not one of them, despite popular opinion to the contrary. (Nor, while I am at it, is "fizz", which is much worse.)

"Faze" comes from the Middle English "fesen", "to drive away". As you would expect from 1) its Germanic look and 2) the propensity of vowels to change over time, it was then pronounced with a long "-e-", and eventually evolved into "feeze" and "feaze" before settling into the modern-day "faze". But "faze" it now is. It it absolutely and adamantly not "phase".


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