La Colina.35aAutoschediastic:   Have you encountered a more mechanistic word than this?  One that sounds more bolted together?  Auto-sched-i-as-tic.  Other forms are “autoschediasm” and “autoschediastical.”

Its synonyms include “spontaneous,” “extemporaneous,” “impromptu,” and “off-hand”.  Have you come across another word whose sound seems so contrary to its meaning?

“On Saturday, we made an autoschediastic trip to the beach.”

“Don’t take offense, John.  I’m sure it was just an autoschediastic remark.”

“I don’t have a prepared speech for you today.  I’ll be making just a few autoschediastic remarks.”

Is there any other word whose structure and sound are so unlike its meaning?

Agony and antagony:  The noun form of this word is agony, yet its direct antonym is antagonism.  Seems to me the more symmetrical construction “antagony” should at least be an option.  It’s more direct and more poignant.  In this form, it is clear emotion.  In the other, it’s once removed, a thing.   Whatever happened to “antagony?”

And what about “minify”?

Several dictionaries define the word “magnify” as  “to make greater in actual size.”  For a word meaning the opposite, “to make smaller in actual size,” the word “minimize” come to mind.  That word, though, is defined somewhat differently: “to reduce to the smallest possible amount or degree.”  Not just make smaller in size, but as small as possible.

How to achieve some synmmetry in the matter?   Right off the bat, the term “magnifize” would mimic “minimize,” but it sounds just plain awful.  So, let’s start with “magnify” and work from there.  “Minify.”  Not bad.  In fact, it makes one wonder why this word doesn’t already exist.

Turns out it does, though it’s not in my edition of Roget’s.  Where it does show up, its use is described as rare or even archaic, except, ironically, in the world of computer code.  There, it refers to compressing program code to reduce its storage requirements, or to removing non-essential characters from code while retaining its function.

Magnify/minify.  Seems balanced enough.  I propose we recapture the word and restore it to a useful place in common language.


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