Monday, September 25, 2017

Censorship (n.) Censor (n.) - Are we being censored?

Someone who attempts to moderate and supervise morals, conduct, and content, usually with official approval.

The act of behaving like a censor.

Censored YouTube videos:

History & Etymology

The word censor comes from the name of a position in the Roman government whose job it was to take census data, and enforce the moral code dictated by the government of Rome.

The duties of a Roman censor were three fold:

Performing the census, registering and collecting information about the citizens of Rome. This is where we get the word census from.
Regimen Morum, the enforcement of public morality dictated by the roman government, and
The administration of state finances, and the development of state buildings and public work projects.

Number 2 is where we get the definition of the word censor and censorship. The Roman censors had several tools for enforcing the moral code of the roman state.  The most common were degrading Roman citizens, branding, and fines. Degrading only meant to lower the social status of some one.
For example there was a class of people called Equestrians who were granted state funded horses, and these people could be degraded and have that privilege taken from them. Censorship didn’t necessarily mean removal of citizenship.

This made the position of Censor a feared and coveted position in Rome.


In 1914 the oxford english dictionary records an early use of the word censor to refer to an official who checks private correspondence during war time for any information that might compromise any war efforts.

This use of the word referring to someone that redacts information from a letter is where we get the idea that censorship is only when content is completely or partially removed. I don’t think this is really the only way in which the word censorship could be used. A lot of dictionaries I checked didn’t define censor as removal of content. They generally referred to suppressing content.

After investigating where the word actually comes from I believe the word censorship can be applied much more broadly.

What’s happening with Google, YouTube and other large tech companies I believe falls squarely under the definition of censorship.

Just as the Roman government provided privileges to it’s citizen, so does YouTube, and other services, and they can take away some of those privileges, if you don’t abide by their moral standards.

When a video is put into a limited state, the “SandBox”, that’s similar to having your horse and other privileges if you were a roman in the equestrian class.

And having your content demonetize would be analogous to being degraded, and having your rank stripped from you.

They may not be forcing you or your content off the platform, but they are still censoring you. You’re being encouraged to conform to someone else's moral code.

What Google, Facebook and other big tech companies are doing is censorship. At least by my definition.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Peace (n.)(i.) - Can't we all just get along!

Freedom from disturbance, threat, or violence in mental, personal or national life.

Farewell, or goodbye. Sometimes combined with “out” to form Peace Out.

Walter Williams Lecture:
3 Minute Rule by the Beastie Boys:

History & Etymology

The word peace entered into the english language from the Anglo-Norman Pes(pronounced peace) during the norman conquest of england in the 11th century.

The word seems to have originally entered the language as a greeting. Peace was used to translate the hebrew greeting shalom which means peace. Eventually it moved away from use as a greeting and completely replaced the word “frith” the original middle-english word for peace.

In the late 1960s and 70s the word peace returned to common use as farewell greeting, similar to it’s original use as a translation of Shalom.

And in 1988 the Oxford English Dictionary records the combination of Peace Out as a farewell in the lyrics of “the 3 minute rule” by the Beastie Boys.

This formation of Peace Out likely comes from the usage from the 60s combined with a technological addition reminiscent of Over and Out in use by radio operators.

I’ve been having trouble coming up with a really good commentary for what the word peace mean and how it should be used. After some thought and looking through other definition and discussions. I realized something very important about peace.

Peace is generally a word for an external state of being among people. It doesn’t include thoughts, feelings, or beliefs. This means that peace can be achieved even while hate, fear and disgust still abound.

You don’t have to like someone to live peacefully with someone else. In fact you could hate someone and still live with them. I’ve got a clip from a lecture by my favorite economist Walter Williams where he describes who this can come about.

But if self interest and greed can bring about a peaceful situation, as in that example, that means that peace doesn’t necessarily come from understanding and acceptance. I think a lot of times when people use the word peace they conflate it with the saying ‘peace and harmony’. Some people seem to believe we can’t live peacefully unless we all hold the same beliefs and values. I think we need to change this usage.

Peace is achievable but we can’t do it by changing the minds of others. The moment we try and impose our values, by threat or force, we are no longer being peaceful and we’ve become part of the problem. We don’t have to accept people to live peacefully with people.

The same holds true for international relations. We’re at peace with the countries we do a lot of trade with, European countries, China, and Japan, but the countries we try and bring our values to, the countries we try and impose western democracy on, are the countries we’re stuck fighting in. We have spoiled any chance of peace in these places while we’re still trying to help them.

The more we spend time improving ourselves and the less time we spend trying to improve others without their permission the more peaceful this world will become.

Strongs Concordance

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Subscribe (v.) - Do it now!

To agree to receive communications or access a service, sometimes in exchange for a regular fee.

History & Etymology

Originally from classical Latin subscribere a compound of Sub meaning under and scribe meaning write, to write under.

So subscribe literally means to sign at the bottom of a document.

But you don’t even have to sign anything, now all you have to do is click a button.


If you’ve found this quick exploration of the word subscribe interesting, you should do just that subscribe to this channel.

Because that’s what I do. I explore the definition, origins, and current usage of english words.
In this case there is no fee involved just press the button and Subscribe.

Press it now, it’s right there just do it.

Dictionary (n.) - I have no idea what I'm doing!


A book, document, or database containing lists of words and associated information usually in alphabetical order.


History and Etymology

Derived from the Latin dictionarius meaning wordbook or collection of phrases.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word dictionarius was first used in english, as the title of a textbook on Latin composition by a teacher named John of Garland in the 13th century.

In the 16th century early Dictionaries began appearing containing lists of words and their translations into other languages or dialects. Initially these dictionaries where english to latin, and later for modern languages.Translation dictionaries did exist before this but went by different names.

In the 17th century the word dictionary was applied to books that contained lists of “Hard Words” and their explanations. The earliest printed dictionary of hard words was Robert Cawdrey's Table Alphabeticall of 1604.

In 1755 Samuel Johnson published the first comprehensive dictionary of the English Language.

Descriptivism vs. Prescriptivism

When Samuel Johnson set out on his quest to create an authoritative dictionary he made a mistake many many people make these days. Samuel Johnson was trying to prescribe the english language, trying to set it instone and control what words meant. This is called prescriptivism.

But by the end of his eight year project of writing his dictionary Johnson had changed his mind. The meanings of words couldn’t always be nailed down. He changed his focus from prescribing what English should be to describing what English is. This is called descriptivism.

That’s primarily what I want to do with my video dictionary describe how words are being used.  Sometimes I’ll cover words that are mundane, like the days of the week or colors, because I find their histories or etymologies interesting.

But other times more controversial words will catch my attention. Liberal, conservative, fascist, capitalism socialism.

The definition provided at the beginning of each entry are written by me, based on a combination of observation of current usage, historical usage, and information gathered from other sources.

In the history and etymology section I describe how the word came to be in the english language, descriptions of how the word and it’s meaning has changed, and any interesting trivia I have come across about the word.

and the last section of each entry will be a commentary on how I see the word being used or misused, by those in public discourse, the mainstream, and alternative media.

I’m also interesting in including words that may not have made it into a traditional dictionary due to its obscurity or the ever changing nature of internet culture.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Beach (n.) - Rocks can be a real beach!

Where the waves from a body of water meet the land, especially where there is sand, pebbles, gravel, or shells.

Bonus Link:

History & Etymology

Researching the Etymology of the word beach was interesting. The OED entry says it hasn’t been fully updated in over 100 years, and I’m not a big fan of relying on a wiki for information. I’ve tried to bring all of the explanations I’ve come across into an interesting story, but that’s about all it is so take it with a grain of salt and enjoy. The history of the word probably went something like this.

The old english word “bache” referred to the land a stream or creek ran through. Because a lot of streams and creeks are lined with stones, over time the word came to refer to those rocks made smooth by the running water. In some places the word beach still refers to stones smoothed by water.

Eventually the a changed to an ea,the e was dropped from the end, and it became the word we know today. Beach.

When someone would say, “I’m going for a walk on the beach” they actually meant, “I’m going for a walk on the smooth stones.”

After years of usage like the example I just gave the meaning was transformed into the definition we have today.

Example usage from PewDiePie: