Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Et Tu Merriam-Webster?

This little gem in my mailbox from M-W's word of the day:

The Word of the Day for September 16 is:

simon-pure \sye-mun-PYUR\ adjective: of untainted purity or integrity; also : pretentiously or hypocritically pure

Example sentence:

Alfred is a simon-pure Republican, rocked in his cradle to the stirring rhythms of G.O.P. speeches, grown to a man sure to vote the party line.

Did you know?

British dramatist and actress Susannah Centlivre (1669-1723) introduced the character of Simon Pure in her 1718 comedy A Bold Stroke for a Wife. In that play, Colonel Fainall wants to marry Anne Lovely, but to do so he must win the consent of Anne's guardian, a Quaker gentleman named Obadiah Prim. Fainall tries to gain the needed approval by impersonating a Quaker preacher named Simon Pure. Unfortunately for the scheme, the real Simon Pure appears and proves himself to be the genuine article. People adopted the phrase "the real Simon Pure" (which in turn gave rise to the adjective "simon-pure") from the play to refer to things true or genuine.

I think it pretty obvious which denotation & connotation M-W had in mind...and the anecdotal evidence just keeps mounting!