OT: Does Tim maybe overuse the word "Procrustean" a bit?

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peps...@gmail.com

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May 24, 2022, 9:07:01 AMMay 24
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Previously, there was a thread on the use of the word "Procrustean" (among other things).
But now it occurs to me that the compound word "one-size-fits-all" seems
to say exactly the same thing in the same number of syllables, using much
more common and easily accessible vocab? Furthermore, the cost
in increased characters would appear small.

But I suppose "Procrustean"-users could readily argue that they're
encouraging people to get in touch with allusions from the classics
and are furthering the cause of a traditional education.

Paul

Timothy Chow

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May 25, 2022, 8:37:01 AMMay 25
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On 5/24/2022 9:06 AM, peps...@gmail.com wrote:
> Previously, there was a thread on the use of the word "Procrustean" (among other things).
> But now it occurs to me that the compound word "one-size-fits-all" seems
> to say exactly the same thing in the same number of syllables, using much
> more common and easily accessible vocab? Furthermore, the cost
> in increased characters would appear small.

There is certainly a difference in connotation.

"One-size-fits-all" makes me think of socks that can stretch to
accommodate feet of all different sizes. Something invented by
an ingenious entrepreneur.

"Procrustean" makes me think of chopping off people's toes to
make them fit into a fixed-size shoe. Something a small-minded
tyrant with some power would do.

---
Tim Chow

peps...@gmail.com

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May 26, 2022, 4:15:42 AMMay 26
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On Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 1:37:01 PM UTC+1, Tim Chow wrote:
> On 5/24/2022 9:06 AM, peps...@gmail.com wrote:
> > Previously, there was a thread on the use of the word "Procrustean" (among other things).
> > But now it occurs to me that the compound word "one-size-fits-all" seems
> > to say exactly the same thing in the same number of syllables, using much
> > more common and easily accessible vocab? Furthermore, the cost
> > in increased characters would appear small.
> There is certainly a difference in connotation.
>
> "One-size-fits-all" makes me think of socks that can stretch to
> accommodate feet of all different sizes. Something invented by
> an ingenious entrepreneur.
>
...

I googled the usage of "one-size-fits-all" a bit.
The adjective tends to have highly positive or highly negative connotations, depending on the qualified noun.
It is indeed positive when qualifying clothing (as you say), but almost always highly negative when qualifying
"approach".

However, "Procrustean" (as I understand it) (almost) never has positive connotations.
I'm not convinced that the word "Procrustean" is therefore necessary (or even particularly valuable)
since when "one-size-fits-all" is used as a synonym for "Procrustean", I think the meaning is clear.

Paul

Timothy Chow

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May 29, 2022, 9:06:18 AMMay 29
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On 5/26/2022 4:15 AM, peps...@gmail.com wrote:
> However, "Procrustean" (as I understand it) (almost) never has positive connotations.
> I'm not convinced that the word "Procrustean" is therefore necessary (or even particularly valuable)
> since when "one-size-fits-all" is used as a synonym for "Procrustean", I think the meaning is clear.

There are other reasons to use "procrustean." A person
can be described as procrustean. It would be odd, and would
not really convey the same meaning, to say that a person is
"one-size-fits-all."

Also, even if used with a negative connotation, "one-size-fits-all"
does not necessarily suggest that anything is being forcibly altered
in order to fit into a fixed framework. If I'm an editor and you
submit a photo to be published, then a procrustean approach suggests
that I'll crop your photo, perhaps in a grotesque manner, to fit the
space that I've allotted. A one-size-fits-all approach might mean
that I enlarge or shrink your photo to fit the space.

---
Tim Chow

peps...@gmail.com

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May 29, 2022, 9:12:51 AMMay 29
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Good points. I didn't know that "procrustean" could apply to a person, but now that you
say it, it makes sense. I think Dickens's famous novels had a lot of people who could
be described thus.

Paul
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