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Sep 22, 2021
This week’s theme
Coined words

This week’s words
vorpal
consilience
psychobabble
rheology
locavore

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

psychobabble

PRONUNCIATION:
(SY-ko-bab-uhl)

MEANING:
noun: Language laden with jargon from psychotherapy or psychiatry, used without concern for accuracy.

ETYMOLOGY:
Coined by journalist Richard Dean Rosen (b. 1949). From Greek psycho- (mind) + babble (drivel, blather). Earliest documented use: 1975.

NOTES:
Here is how Rosen describes the term in his book Psychobabble: Fast Talk and Quick Cure in the Era of Feeling:
“Psychobabble is ... a set of repetitive verbal formalities that kills off the very spontaneity, candor, and understanding it pretends to promote. It’s an idiom that reduces psychological insight to a collection of standardized observations, that provides a frozen lexicon to deal with an infinite variety of problems.”

USAGE:
“Unable to resist knee-jerk references to Freud and Jung, Ms. Zimmerman has her actors spout some psychobabble about myths as public dreams, dreams as private myths, and the like.”
Amy Gamerman; A Timely Gift of Timeless Ovid; The Wall Street Journal (New York); Oct 10, 2001.

See more usage examples of psychobabble in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The characteristic of a well-bred man is, to converse with his inferiors without insolence, and with his superiors with respect and with ease. -Lord Chesterfield, statesman and writer (22 Sep 1694-1773)

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