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Topic: Permutation Groups
Replies: 13   Last Post: Feb 2, 2004 2:54 AM

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Douglas Zare

Posts: 150
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Weird usage of "unique" (was something else)
Posted: Oct 11, 1999 10:24 PM
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Jeremy Boden wrote:

> In article <Pine.LNX.4.10.9910111157180.22988-100000@titania.math.ukans.
> edu>, Fred Galvin <galvin@math.ukans.edu> writes

> >
> >This bizarre misuse of the word "unique" (to mean "different" or
> >"distinguishable") seems to be a fad. How did this get started, and how
> >can we eradicate it?
> >

> Expressions such as "most unique" etc are Americanisms.

The point is that the use of unique to mean merely uncommon has increased
dramatically recently. It is a definition in my dictionary, so people had made
the mistake before, but I blame whatever ad agency Jack-in-the-Box hired. I
think commercials are intentionally made slightly incorrect so that they will
stick in people's minds.

One could just point and laugh, but this is unlikely to stop the epidemic. (Does
anyone else still pronounce the nonmusical "forte" by the first or only
pronounciation in most dictionaries?) A few years down the road your students
will insist your definition of unique is wrong, and will sue for their tuition
to be returned.

Douglas Zare







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