6 Responses to The Incredulous Shrinking Man

  1. Anonymous July 18, 2011 at 2:04 am #

    I guess Shakespeare didn’t know what it meant either:

    Why euery thing adheres togither, that no dramme of a scruple, no scruple of a scruple, no obstacle, no incredulous or vnsafe circumstance

    Twelfth Night, III.4

    • Roderick July 18, 2011 at 2:41 am #

      I’m sure Shakespeare didn’t know what “incredulous” would mean in post-1800 English, no.

      • Anonymous July 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

        Merriam-Webster claims the use as ‘incredible’ has been revived in the 20th century.

        Perhaps you do not know what the word means in post-2000 English 😉

        I’m not good enough with search engines or really feel like putting much effort into it, so I can’t actually confirm how common this sense of the word is.

        • Roderick July 19, 2011 at 12:50 am #

          Don’t you mean post-1900?

          Anyway, I’m not going to drive off a cliff just because the Merriam-Webster map says there’s a bridge there. 🙂

        • Bob July 26, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

          I think Roderick’s point stands by virtue of the fact that the headline didn’t use the term as Armitage used it. Furthermore, lexicographers have a duty to record actual usage; language-users have at least good reasons to resist sloppy changes in their language.

  2. Michael July 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    “Credible” and “credulous” both come from the Latin root credere, to believe. So incredible means unbelievable, incredulous unwilling or incapable of believing. I can see the crossover here.

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