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solecism (SOL-i-siz-ehm, SO-li-) noun
1. A grammatical mistake or a nonstandard usage.
2. A breach of etiquette.
3. An error, inconsistency, or impropriety.
[From Latin soloecismus, from Greek soloikismos, from soloikos (speaking incorrectly; literally, inhabitant of Soloi) after Soloi, an ancient Athenian colony in Cilicia where a dialect considered as substandard was spoken.]
"`Ah! Madam,' said Ovid, `how great a solecism would it be both in a lover
and a poet if he did not look upon his mistress as the sublimest object
of his thoughts!'
"But the AAUP's (Association of American University Presses) guidelines go
beyond correcting what it regards as solecisms to more drastic exercises
in raising consciousness. Consider the traditional personification of
ships as feminine. According to the AAUP task force, such usage is `quaint
at best' and should be avoided: `it' is preferred. Along the same
literalist lines, you should think twice before describing an important
work by a woman scholar as `seminal'.
This week's theme: toponyms, or words derived from the names of places.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. -Elizabeth Barrett Browning, poet (1806-1861)