The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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KORZYBSKI                                    117
He holds a professorial chair at Yale.
This kitchen chair is sturdy.
Be careful with that chair, it's an original Chippendale.
Etc.
We forget that even a familiar word makes itself at home in unusual places. Paul, our bellboy, for instance, on handing me a special delivery letter addressed, "Dr. Bess Son-del" said:
"I never knew you were a doctor. Say, last night our baby------"
"Not a medical doctor," I cut in fast, thinking to end the matter there.
"Quit kidding me," he countered. "You're no tooth jerker."
"No, Paul, just a Doctor of Philosophy," I mumbled, hoping to get to my letter.
"Of whatr
To which I could only answer: "Skip it, Paul, please. I'm busy."
"But it says 'doctor' What"
For Paul, "doctor" means "doctor"the kind that can cure a sick babyregardless of the context.
The dictionary will be a clue, of course, but only the context can lead us toward a meaning.
When we use other words to define a word, the etc. reminds us that our definition of a word cannot approach alktess.
(2) If our words cannot tell all, then our descriptions «of things cannot tell all.
Let me try to describe my kitchen for you: My kitchen is long enough to hold a twenty-four-inch square table, a three-burner electric stove with oven, and a sink equipped with storage space for silver, cooking