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uxorious
Posted: 22 August 2017 07:21 AM   [ Ignore ]
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As a copyeditor, I’ve developed an uncanny ability to deduce what the author must have meant from even the weirdest mistakes.  But this defeats me.  From this story in the latest NY Times Magazine:

The Jacksonian tradition comes across as Mead’s real interest and fundamentally populist. Its adherents tend to be regular, simple folk, who may not articulate a Jacksonian paradigm but understand its governing philosophy by somatic impulse. They are skeptical of fancy talk about global leadership, and they despise the uxorious American elite, who have in turn abandoned them.

(The bolding is mine.) As far as I know, “uxorious” can only mean ‘(excessively) devoted to one’s wife,’ which makes no sense here.  Any ideas?

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Posted: 22 August 2017 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The bolding is mine.) As far as I know, “uxorious” can only mean ‘(excessively) devoted to one’s wife,’ which makes no sense here.  Any ideas?

I did not read the article; therefore, I’m not familiar with the context. At face value, I would think the author misused the word or does not understand its meaning.

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Posted: 22 August 2017 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Only thing I can think of is luxurious with a typo omitted L and autocorrected.

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Posted: 22 August 2017 08:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Faldage - 22 August 2017 08:00 AM

Only thing I can think of is luxurious with a typo omitted L and autocorrected.

That occurred to me at first, but after reading the article, I discarded the possibility.  Perhaps—and this too is a stretch—Mr. Hylton meant to write unctuous?

Why not ask the author himself?

He may have given an inadvertant hint when, in the second sentence of the long piece he boldly declared,
[...]so I’m going to blow past the usual journalistic claptrap and just ...” dispense with editing.

[ Edited: 22 August 2017 10:01 AM by cuchuflete ]
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Posted: 22 August 2017 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I forced myself to read a considerable part of the article. I don’t think there is any conceivable way that the word could actually make any kind of sense, within the context of the article.  My hypothetical scenario:  “uxorious” appears near the end of the article. By the time the author had reached that point in writing, he could have been fairly glassy-eyed (perhaps hopped up with alcohol and/or other substances), and his subconscious was getting out of control, thrusting forward thoughts and images of saner, more down-to-earth activities, such as making love to his wife (who for all I know might be a very stimulating person)……and — whoops! — up pops the word.  Once it’s in there, it evades the vigilance of a less literate copy editor than languagehat (there must be millions of them out there: look at all the stuff that gets published), who has no clue what it means, and by then doesn’t care anyway………

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Posted: 22 August 2017 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I think lionello nailed it. Literally.

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Posted: 22 August 2017 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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An yet I can’t shake the vague feeling that there is some word with a meaning in the luxurious/hedonistic/decadent/overprivileged semantic area that sounds or looks at least mildly reminiscent of uxorious.  Probably there isn’t, and I’m being led astray by suggestion.

A couple of commenters on the site have raised the issue, without getting any response or clarification.

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Posted: 22 August 2017 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I think Cuchuflete got it right; unctuous might be the most logical description considering the context, and perhaps the appropriate adjective for the American elite.

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Posted: 22 August 2017 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Given his personal history, Bannon probably really does despise people who are devoted to their wives.

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Posted: 22 August 2017 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I can’t shake the vague feeling that there is some word with a meaning in the luxurious/hedonistic/decadent/overprivileged semantic area that sounds or looks at least mildly reminiscent of uxorious.

Yeah, same here.  I hope the author responds to the questions on the site!

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Posted: 23 August 2017 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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On another tack, I note that the author uses the word stocky to mean ‘fat’. This fairly recent euphemism always annoys me, as it makes the word harder to use in its original meaning without being misunderstood.

I have to declare an interest here, as all the men in my father’s family are short, wide in the shoulder and virtually the same width all the way down, although none of them carries any fat: in fact they are pretty much tree-trunk-shaped, which of course is what stocky originally meant. I used to describe them as such, until I one day I realised that my interlocutor had understood me to mean that they were all overweight.

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Posted: 23 August 2017 06:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Could it not mean that the American elite are excessively fond of their wives to the point that they allow themselves to be ruled by them, something the adherents of the Jacksonian tradition find despicable? In other words the old canard that Americans allow their women too much power, in this case taken up by American populists and aimed at the American elite. That’s certainly a stretch but the author leaves the reader no choice but to try to make some sort of sense of the passage, however fanciful. Or, as others say, it could just be the wrong word.

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Posted: 23 August 2017 08:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I considered the possibility that the writer meant “dominated by feminists”, but the specific wife meaning of “uxorious” militated against that, for me.

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Posted: 23 August 2017 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Actually, the placement of the keyboard keys would logically eliminate the possibility of a typographical error regarding the words: unctuous and luxurious. Uxorious does not make any sense in the context that it was written; therefore, I deduce the the author was ignorant of its true meaning, or perhaps realized he misused the word, but forgot to correct the error.

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Posted: 23 August 2017 11:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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OED says it can also be applied figuratively:
b. fig. (of inanimate objects, etc.).
1863 J. Conington tr. Horace Odes i. ii. 20 Old Tiber,..spite of Jove, his banks o’erflows, Uxorious flood.

Most of the citations for this sense are translations of classical works and the above is the latest, which makes the text sound antiquated and pompous (I’m a plain English advocate so the author may not want to listen to me). However, I’d leave it out if it were left to me. It adds nothing to the sense and is pure verbosity. But if you must, maybe “conforming” or “obsequious”?

BTW, lh, I’m enjoying the Guernsey book, so thanks again.

[ Edited: 23 August 2017 11:34 PM by ElizaD ]
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Posted: 24 August 2017 12:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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When one looks at the multiple meanings (or near meanings) of uxoriousness (eg see https://www.niftyword.com/related-words/mawkishness/ ) I come to the conclusion that a) it doesn’t confine itself to wives and, b) it’s not a typo, misspelling or misuse of a similarly sounding word.  The referenced site offers many words which the author could have chosen to justify the context but for some reason liked this one.

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