There are some words ( I’m limiting this to American words for now ) that should be eliminated , done away with , jettisoned , flung out into oblivion , that should be forgotten , not used , allowed to softly and silently sink into eternal obsolescence , to be mercifully put down .
The word in mind today is raze .
From the Merriam Webster online dictionary :
RAZE transitive verb
Definition of raze
a. archaic ERASE
b. to scrape , cut , or shave off
to destroy to the ground : demolish
Are you with me on this ? Why do we need such a word ? Have you ever , ever , ever heard anyone use the noun form ?
Oh , yeah , one or two of you think : ” Yeah . Hell Razer .”
We begin to smell my main objection to the word raze . I was listening to the radio today , NPR . The discussers ( discussors ? ) were jabbering on about ( as far as I could tell ) the architectural aspects of the L.A County Art Museum down on Wilshire . I listened only a short car journey’s worth to the profundity . My education , I admit , arrives only haltingly in serendipitous short snippets of profound NPR discussions .
In this one , there seemed to be a plan, apparently , to open up art warehouses to the public so that people could see more art than they can when art works have to be hung and lighted because that lighting and tasteful display limits exposure ( pun ? If so , pardon the pun ; irony ? ) . It seemed to be a bit of well-intentioned stupidity to me . But , what do I know about art ? Nothing . I waited for a diligent presentation of pros and cons on the idea , waiting to have my mind changed , but callers-in to the program meandered tangentially , and , it seemed to me ,from the driving moments during which I was listening, ( I were listening ? ) , that it kind of got away from them .
That being as it may ( is that the expression ? ) , some one of the deeper radio voices mentioned the benefit of razing one of the museum’s many buildings . The other radio voices spoke of the well-known architect who had designed the structure ( raised it , I think ) . In the 1970s ? The moderator said , ” No one’s saying that it was his best work “, and they wiggled verbosely on along the airwaved path . I had to leave them at my driveway .
Well , I wondered , should we , as a proud metropolitan city , raise a new building on the huge museum grounds ? Something impressive . Something monumental . Something following the Disney Concert Hall — Our Lady Queen of Angels Cathedral trend ? Tower of Babylon , anyone ?
But did they mean raze or raise ?
Can we agree to use the term demolish if and when we get that peculiarly itchy feeling in our gurglingly emerging vocabularies, within our idiosyncratically ever-fermenting private word soups , the feeling which sneaks up , perhaps , on the best of us , which emerges once in awhile at weaker moments and prods us to use a term such as raze ………can we agree to not ?
Excuse me . I have to go out and raze the flag . It’s in very bad shape . Might have to be burned . Or else buried . Perhaps in a flag cemetery . I’ll check it out on Google . I’ll make a bet that I’ll find a flag cemetery . Take my bet and raze me , if you like .
I’ve razed several cats . Indirectly . Coyotes in the neighborhood are the actual razers .
Do I want to raze funds ? I think not . They’re in short supply as is .
I want to buy some razers . Disposable razers . Razers with double blades . We’ll all go out and raze vegetables . It won’t be hell razing —- not at all .
I need a raze .
I think that I’ve razed several logical arguments for dispensing with raze . (But you may continue to use razor if you so choose . That’s okey with me .)