Irrefragable

By: | Post date: 2017-02-05 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: English, Linguistics

Remember when Dennis Miller was commentating the NFL, and peppering his commentary with obscurity after obscurity, and a panoply of blogs popped up to offer exegesis to the befuddled masses?

This here blog may be that for the Magister, and I don’t want the Magister to start getting all self-conscious about his recondite lexis.

Don’t think that’s a likely outcome though.

irrefragable is another word from the Magister that is new to me:

Michael Masiello’s answer to If a lie must be told to accomplish a moral imperative, is that lie virtuous? Is honesty immoral in that circumstance?

Aristotle makes a version of this point — an unruly, inconvenient, irrefragable truth

Michael Masiello’s answer to Is there any neutral source where I can learn about Donald Trump and his politics?

There is no “view from nowhere”; subjectivity is irrefragable and ineluctable

Definition of IRREFRAGABLE

impossible to refute <irrefragable arguments>

impossible to break or alter <irrefragable rules>

So why is it different from irrefutable? Because it’s got the etymology of “unopposable, irresistable”

Since at least 1533, irrefragable has been used as an English adjective modifying things (such as arguments or data) that are impossible to refute. It derives from the Late Latin adjective irrefragabilis (of approximately the same meaning), which is itself derived from the Latin verb refragari, meaning “to oppose or resist.” Irrefragable rather quickly developed a second sense referring to things (such as rules, laws, and even objects) that cannot be broken or changed. There was once also a third sense that applied to inflexible or obstinate people.

So, you not only can’t refute it, you can’t stand up to it and resist it; and the “it” is like a law or a rule, not just an argument someone makes.

Of course, the Magister can himself be pretty irrefragable at times. In whichever of the senses you prefer. (Handy hint: he likes obsolete, archaic senses of words.)

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