Thursday, November 27, 2008

Word of the day

So, I came across this odd word (perhaps not so odd, depening on your literacy level and vocabulary) while looking for the definition of onus. Interestingly enough, onus (not a measure of your level of O) isn't what I'd imagined. My initial thoughts were that onus merely means the "responsibility" as it were. So, "The onus is on you to fix that" would mean it's your responsibility. Turns out, it's far heavier than simple responsibility:

o·nus (ns)n.
1. A difficult or disagreeable responsibility or necessity; a burden or obligation.
a. A stigma.
b. Blame.
3. The burden of proof

This according to The Free Dictionary (TFD here onwards). While looking at that, I stumbled upon (not in the Firefox application sense) encumbrance, and then - fardel. TFD gives the following definition:

far·del (färdl)
1. A pack; a bundle.
2. A burden.

Which I thought was quite cool. For reasons unknown, it brings to mind Mexican food and coffee burros, which is possibly appropriate in the burden sense (those poor donkeys). I guess I like the sound of "The burden of proof", and using some creative license and having a decent story behind it: "The Fardel of Proof" (or maybe even: The Burro of Proof). I like it, though I have no idea where I'd use it without having the fardel of sounding overcomplicated and fancy.


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