16 March 2009

Good? Really?

You learn some interesting things and you study Greek... or when you Google etymology on the Internet.

For instance, the Greek prefix "eu" means "good or happy." The word "pheme" is a form of the verb "to speak." That means that a "euphemism" means to "use of a favorable word in place of an inauspicious one." In other words, a euphemism is happy talk in place of what people do not wish to speak or hear about.

Another instance is when you take that same Greek prefix and attach it to a form of the word "thanatos" which means "death." "Euthanasia" then, is a "happy death." Or at least a happier way of saying, I killed him to put him out of his misery.

This is brought to mind by a story from the Portland, Oregon NBC affiliate, which I used to watch regularly, KGW NewsChannel 8.

BONNEVILLE, Ore. – A second sea lion recently trapped as part of an effort by wildlife managers to protect endangered salmon and steelhead has been euthanized.

Authorities said the California sea lions were trapped because it had been regularly feeding in the waters below Bonneville Dam.

Euthanized? Do you suppose the sea lion regarded this death as a "happy one"? Is this really euthanasia ... or just euphemism?

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