Last modified on 30 September 2010, at 23:50

Talk:nonplussed

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I am confused by the conflation of unfazed and unimpressed in the second definition. I do see both of these meanings in the references, but the oxford one, in particular, is only discussing the (in their opinion novel) meaning of unimpressed, not unfazed. My impression (for the little it is worth) is that there are, in fact, two relatively recent senses developing: unfazed and unimpressed. These are obviously related (why would something that wasn't impressive faze you?) but distinct. I'm new here and not attempting to re-open the debates below or exclude any sense in use, but I think the two senses shown in the usage quotations for the second sense are different and should be distinguished.--Jameshowison 23:50, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

An article about Facebook photo censors in the May 11 edition of Newsweek magazine incorrectly uses the word "nonplussed" to mean unfazed or unimpressed. This is evidence that the word has begun to enter the lexicon with a meaning exactly opposite its actual definition: "bewildered". It reminds one of the similar tendency, now mercifully abating, of Americans to say "could care less" when the opposite "couldn't care less" is what they actually mean. Wiktionary at present encourages this kind of lazy speech by allowing the misuse of "nonplussed" to stand as a secondary definition, when it ought to take the opportunity to strongly point out that reversing a word's meaning is just plain ignorant.

Plenty of modern usages you wouldn't blink at were "ignorant" and incorrect many years ago. Things change. We don't, of course, document a new usage until it's quite prevalent. Equinox 16:32, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
People blindly grasping at a definition and failing to find it don't actually define words - they get corrected when someone educated finally hears them and laughs them into submission. This is how things work :teach: 74.212.17.248 06:25, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
And who is it exactly that does get to "actually define" words? The answer is, no one. Definitions arise from usage. Usage changes. If you really cared about language you would find this interesting instead of sensing an opportunity to suggest that you are better "educated" than others. Ƿidsiþ 06:31, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Request for verificationEdit

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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification.

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Sense 2 is the complete opposite of sense 1, and is poorly sourced. Though marked as non-standard/informal, I question whether sense 2 is a legitimate definition, as the citation merely references a few examples of the word being wrongly used.

Further, the author of the sense 2 cite uses the words ‘undisturbed, unimpressed, indifferent’ to describe this incorrect usage, which was then changed to "Unfazed, unaffected, or unimpressed" for the wiki definition.

There is no basis for the "Unfazed, unaffected, or unimpressed" definition for sense 2, at least in the document cited in the footnote... and the ‘undisturbed, unimpressed, indifferent’ language from the cite is merely describing how the word has been used paradoxically (possibly because the word begins with "non"), so how can that be used as evidence of a correct definition? —This unsigned comment was added by 71.198.231.9 (talkcontribs) at 04:10, 26 September 2009 (UTC).

  • Well we can debate how exactly it should be defined, but there's no doubt sense 2 exists. It is now very common in the US, as a quick internet search will demonstrate. It may annoy you that it came about by people getting confused, but I'm afraid that is how language change happens and it's perfectly normal. Ƿidsiþ 07:13, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Language change is great, however, sense 2 is not supported by citation. If a poorly cited, unsupported definition is acceptable to wiktionary, fine by me. But who made up the definition? Is it OK that it is not backed up by proper citation? If so, cool... but maybe that's why academia scoffs at wiki? —This comment was unsigned.

Did you want full attestation or is a single real usage example enough? There are references to others who have observed the sense shift. To help us along, when you find something that bothers you for its lack of attestation, please insert {{rfv-sense}} at the beginning of the sense line, after the "#'. DCDuring TALK 10:48, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
  • cited. I've removed the non-standard tag. What made the earlier sense standard? The etymological connection doesn't seem very compelling. DCDuring TALK 11:08, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

RFV passed — thanks, DCDuring — but I'm tempted to restore the nonstandard tag. The earlier sense is standard in that it's the usual sense of the word, whereas the newer sense is not. —RuakhTALK 02:00, 18 December 2009 (UTC)