patinagle: (Default)


OK, I've had it. I don't know who started it. I hear it a lot, especially from TV news reporters, and it makes me nuts.

Decimated.

"Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans."

No it did not. You mean devastated.

Decimated means reduced by one tenth ("dec" = ten - you know, like in decimal or decade?). It comes from Latin and the term originated with the Roman

Picture this: you are a centurion in command of ten soldiers. Here they are:





They did a lousy job guarding the supply wagon, so you have to punish them. You pick one soldier and whap his punkin head, killing him.



That's decimated. Got it?

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patinagle

June 2009

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