Lest We Forget


The Hill and several other news agencies reported on Saturday (12/16/2017) that,

“Multiple agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have reportedly been told by the Trump administration that they cannot use certain phrases in official documents. Officials from two HHS agencies, who asked that their names and agencies remain anonymous, told The Washington Post that they had been given a list of ‘forbidden’ words similar to the one given to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).”

[Just so we’re on the same page, the word “forbidden” means not permitted; prohibited.]

Although I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of banning words at this time in our history (the practice seems so medieval!), I thought it important to do my part via The Papercut to push back against this terrible idea and help folks remember what these words mean and that the attempt to ban words is asinine.

So, here’s a list of those “banned” words and their definitions.

Evidence-based: The word evidence is defined as 1) The condition of being evident. 2) Something that makes another thing evident; indication; sign. 3) Something that tends to prove; ground for belief. Therefore, an evidence-based claim or assertion would be one that is supported by evidence and not, you know, ideology or faulty, unproven ideas.

Science-based: The word science means 1) the state or fact of knowing; or knowledge. 2) Systematized knowledge derived from observation, study, and experimentation carried on to determine the nature or principles of what it being studied. Therefore, a science-based claim or assertion would be one that is based in science. (And yes, the fact that the Trump administration would in any way want to diminish the notion of basing decisions in science should scare the bejezus out of you.)

Vulnerable: Vulnerable means 1) that which can be wounded or physically injured. 2) open to criticism or attack (as in a vulnerable reputation). 3) open to attack or assault by armed forces. [Note: The Trump administration seems unaware its reputation is vulnerable … or it doesn’t care.]

Entitlement: A person who is entitled to something has been “given a right, claim, or legal title” to something. An entitlement then, is that right, claim, or title.

Diversity: Diversity refers to the 1) quality, state, fact, or instance of being diverse; difference. 2) variety; multiformity. (that’s right, multiformity). Diverse, of course, means 1) Different, dissimilar. 2) Varied; diversified (What is it with the Trump administration’s problem with difference?)

Transgender: The dictionary I’m looking at right now must have come from the Trump administration, because the word “transgender” isn’t in it. However, with a little brain power, we can figure it our by combining the trans- and gender, which are defined in the book. Trans- means 1) on the other side of, to the other side of, over, across 2) so as to change thoroughly 3) above and beyond. Gender, of course, is a synonym for sex (male or female).

Fetus: the word fetus refers to 1) the unborn young of an animal while still in the uterus or egg, especially in the later stages. 2) in humans, the offspring in the womb from the end of the third month of pregnancy until birth. Now, it might seem strange that Trump administration, which masquerades as Christian, would want to distance itself from the word fetus, which is a staple in the lexicon of pro-lifers near and far. However, my guess is that they want to eliminate its use in favor of “human life” or “person.” The word “fetus,” has an undeniably cold, clinical flavor to it, which is why it is sometimes included among other euphemisms for unborn baby. Be that as it may, the word comes from the Latin word fetus or foetus, meaning “a bringing forth, bearing, progeny.” Thus, those who object to its alleged euphemistic use are, in a word, wrong.

Published by Joe3

Founder of the College Park Community and Butter Lamb Reference Libraries

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