And While You’re At It, Tithe All Your Income Away

In Green Lantern Corps #35, a member of the GL Corps receives the order to “decimate each and every Zamaron.”

Now this is a Zamaron:


So this, presumably, is a Zamaron decimated:

Zamaron decimated

Here’s hoping the economy improves so that DC can afford to invest in dictionaries for its writers. But the odds are nine to one against it.


12 Responses to And While You’re At It, Tithe All Your Income Away

  1. Briggs Armstrong April 23, 2009 at 5:17 am #

    Thank you! I know it is strange but it drives me crazy when idiots use decimate to mean anything other than “reduce by 10%.” I am especially annoyed when such misuse occurs on tv or in print. These people have dictionaries and should check them before they go to print!

    … OK rant over… I feel better

  2. Matt_R.L. April 23, 2009 at 6:01 am #

    ? ?/?d?s??me?t/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [des-uh-meyt] Show IPA
    –verb (used with object), -mat?ed, -mat?ing.
    1. to destroy a great number or proportion of: The population was decimated by a plague.
    2. to select by lot and kill every tenth person of.
    3. Obsolete. to take a tenth of or from.

    Language changes, get used to it.

    • Charles H. April 23, 2009 at 7:21 am #

      Sorry, Matt, but even assuming the revised definition of “decimate”, they still used it wrong. To decimate “each and every Zamaron” would mean to destroy a great proportion of EACH Zamaron, not of the total number of Zamarons. I suppose they COULD have meant to go around hacking away at Zamarons until each one had limbs missing, but somehow I doubt it.

      • Roderick April 23, 2009 at 11:48 am #

        Yeah, what Charles H. said.

        • Matt R.L. April 23, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

          Apologies, I meant to reply to Briggs directly rather than make a general post. Your critique is on the money. His is not.

        • Roderick April 23, 2009 at 12:25 pm #

          Well, I tend to see meaning (1) as sloppy, so I’m inclined to agree with him.

        • Roderick May 5, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

          In related news, Laurence Vance has reduced the Christian Right’s case for torture by ten per cent!

    • Jared April 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

      A quick search on Merriam-Webster Online:

      One entry found.

      Main Entry:
      transitive verb
      Inflected Form(s):
      dec·i·mat·ed; dec·i·mat·ing
      Latin decimatus, past participle of decimare, from decimus tenth, from decem ten

      1: to select by lot and kill every tenth man of
      2: to exact a tax of 10 percent from [poor as a decimated Cavalier — John Dryden]
      3 a: to reduce drastically especially in number [cholera decimated the population] b: to cause great destruction or harm to [firebombs decimated the city] [an industry decimated by recession]

      Seems as though a consensus ought to be reached between the current dictionaries.

      • Roderick April 24, 2009 at 8:22 pm #

        Consensus among dictionaries has never yet been reached and never will be.

  3. Danny Shahar April 25, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    It seems clear that the writers intended that each Zamaron be forced to savagely bludgeon a substantial portion of his body, after which the remaining parts would be forced to sleep outside after an unappetizing supper. The reference to “each and every” Zamaron is obviously meant to distinguish to order from the normal practice of decimating only mutinous or cowardly soldiers. Duh. (DC to the death!)

    • Roderick April 25, 2009 at 8:08 pm #

      a substantial portion of his body

      All Zamarons are female. (They’re like alien Amazons.)

      Originally they were the female version of Guardians (who were all male). But now there are both male and female Guardians, so I’m not sure what the origin of Zamarons is any more. Probably missed a retcon.

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