skunked term; was RE: Define Epigeal and Hypogeal

Adam Fikso
Tue, 05 Jan 2010 09:26:13 PST

I love that:  "Skunked term"  Thanks Jim. Will send it on to my wordsmith 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim McKenney" <>
To: "'Pacific Bulb Society'" <>
Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 2010 8:32 AM
Subject: [pbs] skunked term; was RE: Define Epigeal and Hypogeal

Those of you who had the patience to read through the posts dealing with the
meanings of the terms epigeal and hypogeal deserve a bonus.

As it turns out, it's not unusual for terms to acquire meanings which vary
among different usage groups; sometimes these variant meanings are mutually
contradictory. The word clone provides a good example.

For writers, such terms pose a big potential problem: if several meanings
are attached to a term, how will readers know which of the several meanings
is intended? As a result, careful writers either avoid such terms or use
them with enough supporting material to make the intended meaning clear.
Some of you perhaps think I overdid the "supporting material" in my posts on
this topic. Well, now you know why.

There is a name for such a term: skunked term. You can read about it here:…

Scroll down to "Skunked Terms".


Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden


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