In the prior post I discussed a word for crossings: ford. Today’s word is longer, and currently, more poignant in describing a transition. We are using it on our campus to discuss the decision by some students and faculty not to participate in uncompensated activities that promote our university.
For a time I considered ending this blog until student voices were heard about several demands, including the removal of buildings named for a slave-holder and a supporter of eugenics.
Instead, I’m going to take a different tack. As events play out on campus, I plan to affiliate this blog with words related to the long struggle for equality by marginalized people. This will keep me busy even as I work on more tangible projects to help
Disaffiliate is not a pretty word, and it rings as hollow as lots of 20th Century terms with their origins in bureaucracy. The noun form indeed comes from that era of “gray flannel suits” but the verb is far older, with the OED giving us a first recorded use of 1863. The example proves as colorful as anything else in the satirical magazine, Punch:
The wretched Lodge of Foresters who ‘continued their festivities’ after the murder, will of course be dis-affiliated by the rest of the body.
The definition of our word has not changed for more than a century and a half, to “end or remove the official connection of to an organization.” In that regard, this post can simply end here. What, however, does the verb mean in the context of a particular institution or culture?
As always, please send us words and metaphors useful in academic writing by e-mailing me (jessid -at- richmond -dot- edu) or leaving a comment below.
image courtesy of lanchongzi at Flickr