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#1 2010-07-07 19:39:11

klakritz
Eggcornista
From: Winchester Massachusetts
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 674

obstruse

Here’s the odious Joe Klein from this week’s edition of his column in Time magazine:

“There aren’t so many high-paying manufacturing jobs anymore; the relative security of government work doesn’t need to be augmented by ridiculously obstruse procedures for firing incompetents or by 20-year pension packages.”
.

‘Obstruse’ looks like a real word, but it’s only a portmanteau of’abstruse’ and ‘obscure’ – two words that happen to live in the same conceptual neighborhood. (And there’s an old post observing that the real word ‘obtuse’ sometimes gets used the same way: http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/forum/viewtopic.php?id=144).

More examples:

Engineering was one thing, but the arcane and obstruse language of international accounting was something else again.
www.zoominfo.com/people/Swirski_George_268117.aspx

This offering from Homi Bhaba is definitely in the running to win the grand prize for the most obstruse, deliberately arcane piece of academic prose ...
www.amazon.com/review/RYK885MA5SGSF

She’ll help you if you ask, but even when she helps the explanation seems obstruse.
www.ratemyteachers.com/neera-young/1309699-t

Sometimes we’re seeing from the first person eyes of the spunky youngest girl; sometimes the poetic obstruse and otherworldly handicapped twin; ...
www.amazon.com/review/R2ULRJ3IIGL2N5

...especially as I was a not lawyer and so not able to advance more obstruse and complex technical legal arguments about these matters …
www.anenglishmanscastle.com/archives/007831.html

The obstruse terminology comes from Logic Programming, upon which GML is modeled.
www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/gml.htm

Last edited by klakritz (2010-07-07 20:26:15)

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#2 2010-07-07 21:20:55

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1296

Re: obstruse

“the most obstruse, deliberately arcane piece of academic prose” makes me wonder whether there’s not a third word in the mix, obstruct.

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#3 2010-07-07 21:34:31

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 1847
Website

Re: obstruse

Obstruct has two rather striking obstruent clusters.


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#4 2010-07-08 00:01:41

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2257

Re: obstruse

“Abstruse,” “obscure,” “obtuse,” “obstruct.” We might also add “abstract” to the list. These are two-syllable members of a big fuzzy spot. Anything is likely to take root in this fertile soil.

Besides Ken’s “obstruse,” there are also numerous examples on the web of “obscuse.” Example:

Newsgroup post on computers: “I’ve never seen the point in not using it, am I missing something for obscuse cases involving legacy hardware?”

There are also examples of “abstruct” and “abscure.”

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