French Word of the Day: Logomachie

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French Word of the Day: Logomachie
French Word of the Day: logomachie

The perfect term for empty words.


Why do I need to know Logomachie?

Because, once you know it you’ll probably use it a lot - usually when politicians engage in word salad fights on TV debates.

What does it mean?

Logomachie - pronounced log-oh-mash-ee - has two meanings. It is a discussion over words and their meaning in which the interlocutors use the same words in different senses. 

Remember former US President Bill Clintons’ remarkable, “it all depends on what your definition of 'is', is” comment during a grand jury hearing? It's that sort of thing - a debate over definition that may be used to cloud an issue.

It’s also the wonderful French term for a word salad - an assembly of empty words in a speech, or in a debate, that may sound impressive at first but say absolutely nothing.

The noun we’re discussing comes from the verb logomacher, which means to indulge in verbiage.

Use it like this

Ce discours était une logomachie - that speech was a word salad

Il s'engage dans une logomachie, en parlant de rien - he’s talking up a word salad, talking about nothing

You may also hear

A similar phrase is langue de bois - literally 'wooden language' its used for politicians or business people who indulge in an excessive amount of jargon, usually to disguise the fact that they're not really saying anything. 



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