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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2013-10-22 11:51:06

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2598

genius edition << genus edition

This weekend a friend pointed out to me that the now defunct Genus Edition of Trivial Pursuit is often referred to as the “Genius Edition.”

He’s right. On eBay alone there are currently more than 40 listings for “trivial pursuit genius edition.” This compares with 330+ eBay listings for “genus edition,” suggesting that about sixth of all Trivial Pursuit players have the name wrong.

Explicit confessions to the genus/genius confusion can be found on this Facebook page.

One of the posts on this page says

So what did you mean by “genus edition”? In my mind, “Genius” makes much more sense.

In the context of a trivia game, “genius” does indeed have an appealing semantics. Those who are good at the game seem to possess the marks of genius. So strong is the attraction of the word “genius,” in fact, that people maintain the belief that “genus” is actually “genius” in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. On almost all the eBay pages for “genius” edition, there is a picture of the box that clearly displays the words “genus edition.” Are these people even looking at the pictures they are uploading?

An aside: one wonders what the Canadians who created the game meant by the word “genus” when they called the original edition “master game.genus edition.” Is it, as some speculate, that the game’s questions fall into general categories (genuses), such as “geography,” “entertainment?” Seems unlikely – the non-genus editions also have general categories. A more probable explanation is that “genus” is meant in the sense of “general” as in “general knowledge.

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



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