The “original French meaning” has nothing to do with what it means in English.
Oh, I agree, it has nothing to do with the English meaning today. I should have said “the original meaning when it was borrowed from French” or just “the original meaning in English.” My main point is there seems to be a gap left in the language if you take out “comprised of,” because people apparently aren’t willing to use “composed of.” So that actually supports the argument in favor of its use. On a structural level, it is hard to get people to do without something that performs a useful, everyday function unless you offer a replacement.
The issue of French usage isn’t entirely irrelevant, though its relevancy is more honored in the breach. The majority of educated speakers and writers in England one or two centuries ago were at least schooled in, if not fluent in, French, whereas the vast majority of writers who are getting their words out there in English today are not. This may help to explain why this new meaning has not been quashed.
Yes, it’s a good article and it offers an excellent analysis of both this problem and how to approach any usage debate. I think what’s conclusive, however, is the tide of usage rather than any argument pro or con.