Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Definitions of the Day

It seems to me that a lot of folks, including the media, blogs and elsewhere, are using words and concepts without truly knowing the definition of what they are saying.

In the interest of clearing that up, at least in my mind, I thought I’d look up some things in my Shorter Oxford Dictionary.

torture - The infliction of severe physical or mental suffering; anguish, agony, torment; the infliction of severe bodily pain as a punishment or as a means of interrogation or persuasion; a form or instance of this.

socialism - a political and economic theory or policy of social organization which advocates that the community as a whole should own and control the means of production, capital, land, property, etc.

fascism - The principles and organization of the Italian Fascists, the Italian Fascist movement; a similar nationalist and authoritarian movement in another country; loosely, right-wing authoritarianism.

fascist - A member of a body of Italian nationalists which was organized in 1919 to oppose Communism in Italy and controlled the country from 1922 to 1943; a member of any similar nationalist and authoritarian organization in another country; loosely, any person with right-wing authoritarian political views.

authoritarian - favoring or characterized by obedience to (esp. political) authority as opp. to personal liberty; tyrannical, dictatorial

right-wing - Orig. those members of comparatively conservative opinions in a Continental legislature, by custom seated on the right of the president. Now the views and aims of any party or political group favouring conservative views. Also, the more conservative section of a philosophical, religious, etc., group.

conservative - characterized by a tendency to preserve or keep intact and unchanged; characterized by caution, moderation, or reluctance to make changes; avoiding extremes

nationalist - a person devoted to his or her nation

liberal - free in giving, generous, open-handed, unprejudiced, open-minded, esp. free from bigotry or unreasonable prejudice in favor of traditional opinions or established institutions, open to the reception of new ideas; holding opinions less traditional than those accepted as orthodox; favorable or respectful of individual rights and freedoms, esp. favoring free trade and gradual political and social reform that tends towards individual freedom or democracy.

left-wing - the radical or socialist section of a group or political party; the more liberal or progressive section of a right-wing or conservative group or political party.

oligarchy - a form of government by a small group of people

republic - the state in which supreme power is held by the people or their elected representatives as opp. to by a monarch, etc.; a commonwealth.

democracy - government by the people; a form of government in which the power resides in the people and is exercised by them either directly or by means of a elected representatives; a form of society which favours equal rights, the ignoring of hereditary class distinctions, and tolerance of minority views.


  1. Thanks for offering some clarity. I think many forget the true meaning of words and the true meaning of many other things as well!

  2. If you ever have some time, you might want to go through the archives on my blog - I dealt with these issues last fall and into the Spring, when I burned out.


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