Supererogation to save ‘succedaneum’ from succedanea


Tricia today mentioned in an e-mail to the staff that “pyramidion” is a word. It’s the tippy top, final piece on a pyramid - or, as in the case of Tricia’s note, an obelisk, the Washington Monument.

Anyway, that reminded me that even though no one actually asked, I’m sure you were all wondering about my use of “succedaneum” in the headline on the clip of the P.J. Crowley Libya interview from last night’s show.

It turns out, succedaneum is on a list of words in danger of going extinct. Some of the words are for things we no longer do or use, so (and maybe I’m being callous, but,) their extinction is only natural and appropriate. Next time I ride in a cyclogiro or charabanc I’ll be happy to call them by their names, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen any time soon.

But words like supererogate and succedaneum are perfectly suitable for modern use, if not modern spell checkers (and probably not modern TV scripts because they’re both pretty slippery), so I’m rooting for a resurgence.  

Supererogation to save 'succedaneum' from succedanea