Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rules for Living (III)


#3166 Never use the word "rich" to describe someone who merely has money.

This is due to the word's multiple meanings: having high quality or value ... ... magnificently impressive ...  meaningful, significant ... vivid ... etc.

"Wealthy" is better, though one can still be wealthy in spirit. The best option is "moneyed" since it implies nothing besides material affluence, which is perfect since many moneyed people are otherwise quite impoverished. "Materialistic" also works. "That man is very materialistic; he has everything he could ever want or need, yet somehow it's not enough."

#3166 1/2 Never use the word "poor" to describe someone who merely lacks money.

This is due to the word's multiple meanings: less than adequate ... inferior in quality or value ... unfavorable ... etc.

I prefer "unencumbered" since it shifts the "unfavorable" connotation away from "poor" and onto "rich." (Money then becomes a burden from which one must free oneself.) "Generous" also works. "That man is very generous; he keeps nary a dime for himself!"

This rule, and its counterpart, exist as a small buttress against the pro-rich, anti-poor bias that's been codified in the English language.

1 comment:

Tyler said...

PS:
Some version of each rule should be applied whenever applicable -- "high-class" and "low-class", for example.