Monthly Archives: May 2011

Holistic

HOLISTIC: “adjective, chiefly Philosophy: characterized by the comprehension of the parts of something intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.
Medicine: characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.”
— New Oxford American Dictionary

If you don’t know what a word means, you have no business using it. By my logic, there are thousands — nay, millions of people who should not be using the word holistic. Ever.

Holistic does not mean “whole,” as in “Let’s look at the holistic flowchart.” You also cannot refer to “the holistic process” unless your process (whichever one that is) is indeed holistic. And considering how many “green” companies don’t even recycle, I’m betting good money your process is far from holistic.

I don’t know enough about holistic business practices to lord it over you. Go read about Six Sigma or Ed Deming. And quit it with holistic, simplistic and minimalist. They are not the same as “whole,” “simple” and “minimal.”

— Otto E. Mezzo

My holistic “sighting”

“I feel badly!”

Lexicide don’t do grammar, but I couldn’t resist linking to Grammar Girl’s article “Bad Versus Badly.” This has always been a pet peeve of mine. In short, if you regret something, you feel bad. If you suffer from analgesia, you feel badly. Or, if you stab someone in the back but insist, “Gosh, I feel badly,” well, you’ve spoken the truth.

Otto E. Mezzo

Reference: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/bad-versus-badly.aspx

Opinionated

OPINIONATED: “conceitedly assertive and dogmatic in one’s opinions: an arrogant and opinionated man.” —New Oxford American Dictionary

Sometimes lexicides say more than they mean to. People who insist on verbiage probably prefer excessive wordiness to succinct copy. People who brag about their simplistic solutions are most likely telling more truth than they intend. So it often is with opinionated.

Many people use opinionated to mean “having strong opinions,” with positive connotations. For example, I found a San Francisco Chronicle headline that promised “an opinionated look at the year’s top ten health stories.” More recently, a story in the Puget Sound Business Journal profiled a female CEO who was “sharp, opinionated, ambitious and deeply insightful about both leadership and business.” Perhaps the Chronicle believes that bashing Bush and drug companies is a virtue (hmmm…), but really, these uses of opinionated may reveal more about the authors than they intend. Is the Chronicle a dogmatic manifesto? Does the Puget Sound Business Journal writer think any powerful woman with strong opinions is arrogant and conceited? Again, hmmm…

Don’t make others wonder about your motives. Stay away from opinionated unless you mean what it means — overbearing and unmoving in offering opinions. If my advice makes me opinionated, then so be it.

Otto E. Mezzo

References:
http://articles.sfgate.com/2004-01-04/living/17406815_1_health-insurance-health-care-dementia
http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/2011/05/how-tough-is-the-tech-sector-for-women.html