or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Old Whine in New Bottles

Here is a really interesting site vending beautifully designed things that you probably do not need but might nevertheless like to have.

Here is one of those things, a wine aerator that supposedly makes inferior wines taste better, which really sounds like bullshit to me, but then I think wine pretty much all tastes alike, so I'm probably not the best judge.

Here is a sentence from that item's lengthy and glowing description:

vino arielleā„¢ - wine aerator designed to instantly alleviate the flavour of wine, accentuate its aroma, and smoothen its texture.

I'm going to allow "smoothen", which is more usually rendered "smooth" these days, though "smoothen" is actually a word and therefore valid. What gets under my skin is "alleviate".

Did someone sort of get the idea that since "alleviate" means "to make better", then it can be used synonymously with "improve"? Because it can't. "Alleviate" has exactly one application in English: it is invariably used in conjunction with some pain, illness, or infirmity. You can alleviate symptoms, you can alleviate pain, you can alleviate boredom, even. But you can't alleviate wine.

Seriously. If you don't know what a word means, you really have no business using it.


Blogger D.J. said...

But you can't alleviate wine.

Clearly you have never had Two-Buck Chuck. "Pain" and "infirmity" are right there on the label after "sulfites."

Monday, November 22, 2010 7:39:00 AM  

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