jason christoper hartley

May 21, 2006

Word of the Day – attribution

Filed under: Word of the Day — Jason Christopher Hartley @ 8:00 am

There are times when I read a word that from its root and context I know what it means, but maybe it’s a conjugation I’ve not see before or a usuge I want details on. This is why I love to look up words. It’s easy to know when to use a word simply by mimicing the context in which we’ve heard it used, but it takes a much better understanding of a word to define it if someone were to ever ask you to. That’s why I believe it’s good to look up words you already know just to be sure of their denotated and connotated meanings, and common usage.

at·tri·bu·tion
n.

  1. The act of attributing, especially the act of establishing a particular person as the creator of a work of art.
  2. Something, such as a quality or characteristic, that is related to a particular possessor; an attribute.

From “Why Haven’t We Cleaned Up Iraq?” by Nathaniel Fick, Men’s Journal, May 2006

The office of the U.S. government’s Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen Jr., reports that, as of last December, the average Baghdad resident now has four hours of power per day, compared with 16 or more before the invasion. Fewer than a third of the people in Iraq have access to clean water, as opposed to half before the war. Availability of sewage systems has also declined. When I asked an American official working on Iraq reconstruction how this could possibly be, he noted that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is only now hiring an environmental advisor for Iraq. “It’s ironic, or perhaps instructive,” he says, “that this position is only being filled three years into the reconstruction process.” (The official could not speak on the record. He is currently serving in Iraq and is not cleared for attribution.)

And a bonus word, more from Nate Fick, this time from “General Dissent: When Less Isn’t More“, USA Today, April

spe·cious
adj.

  1. Having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious: a specious argument.
  2. Deceptively attractive.

Military service is not a prerequisite for individual expertise in foreign affairs. Two of America’s greatest wartime presidents — Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt — never served in uniform (although Lincoln spent three months in an Illinois militia). In the aggregate, however, we benefit from having veterans in every corner of our society: as presidential advisers, members of Congress and active citizens. Their experience enables them to ask the right questions, explode specious arguments, and strike a balance between reaffirming civilian leadership and evaluating military advice.

American Heritage Dictionary, Fourth Edition

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