Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: A self-fullfilling prophecy - in a word

  1. #1
    Registered User BSturdy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    110

    A self-fullfilling prophecy - in a word

    Hey there forum

    I was reading The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene recently and came across an interesting word ('coneism' with an acute accent on the e). I wrote it in the back of the book along with his definition in the text as meaning a self-fulfilling prophecy. When a few days later I looked it up in the shorter oxford dictionary - nada, zip, nil, nothing

    Presumably I misspelt the word - If anyone can shed some light on this it would be very much appreciated (I do not want to trawl back to find it)

    Hoping someone can help : )

  2. #2
    Ever Benevolent and Wise
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    953

    Sorry can't help you out, a google search for `coneism' doesn't bring anything up or any other suggestions but `contest'. It doesn't come up in Wickipedia either.

    Can you find it in the book again, and tell us the sentence it's used in to get the context? I don't know what else to suggest ...

    Oh but welcome to the forums!


  3. #3
    Registered User BSturdy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    110
    Thanks Den - I did try a few searches too. Suppose I will have to find it again. Will let you know if I do. Flippin' dyslexia

    Reading 'Red Dust' by Ma Jian at the moment - about China. A doctor in the book has a friend visiting and has nothing to cook. He ends up cooking a specimen of an owl preserved in formalin with ginger - they agree that it tasted ok

  4. #4
    Sci-fi writer; nut
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    17
    It might have been a portmantaeu word.
    "A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now." - Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    "From all these dissertations one can learn what one can usually learn from metaphysical discussionsthat is, nothing." - Jean Le Rond d'Alembert

  5. #5
    Registered User BSturdy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    110
    Thanks for that DeepSpace - A v.interesting suggestion. Kind of regretting that I mentioned this now as I feel I should identify the exact word and context!

  6. #6
    Ever Benevolent and Wise
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    953

    portmanteau ... ha, now I had to look up that word, I knew it as a noun but forgot that portmanteau words are actually quite common in english.


  7. #7
    Ever Benevolent and Wise
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    953

    "Robert K. Merton is usually acknowledged as the maker of this phrase (self-fulfilling prophecy) and using it in sociology."

    From --->this<--- site.

  8. #8
    Registered User BSturdy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    110
    Hey Den - I admit that I did have to remind myself of what a portmanteau word is! It makes sense that it was one of these since Greene gave the definition of the word in the text.

    That satisfies me anyway as I have better things to do than look through the book for that word again (did look briefly but didn't find it) - I feel that it is actually unlikely that I spelt it wrong (but possible as I do get things the wrong way around very often). If I read it again some day I will find out.

  9. #9
    String Dancer Shea's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    1,931
    Hi BSturdy, my unviersity has a subscription to the full OED online, so I looked up your word and it told me to see "conine" for which the definition is:

    An alkaloid (C8H15N) which forms the poisonous principle of hemlock (Conium maculatum); it is an oily liquid, with a peculiar suffocating odour, and violently poisonous, producing paralysis of the terminations of the motor nerves, and consequent asphyxia. Also conia, conicine.

    Is this self-fufilling prophesy dangerous? I've never heard of that book.
    Hwt! We Gar-Dena in geardagum,/eodcuninga rum gefrunon,/hu a elingas ellen fremedon!
    Oft Scyld Scefing sceaena reatum,/ monegum mgum, meodosetla ofteah,/ egsode eorlas, syan rest wear/ feasceaft funden; he s frofre gebad,/ weox under wolcnum, weormyndum ah,/ ot him ghwylc ara ymbsittendra/ofer hronrade hyran scolde,/gomban gyldan. t ws god cyning!

  10. #10
    Registered User BSturdy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    110
    Hey Shea - Thank you so much for your reply - that is the meaning of the word! Yes the prophecy is dangerous, poisonous! And knowing that word would make the book even better as that heightens the tension without giving anything away.

    I started to describe the plot in this message but that would ruin it for other readers. The book is about humanity, religion and dilemmas. There is a terrible catch-22 for the main character It is a great book but intensely sad.

    Thanks again - I am indebted to you.
    Last edited by BSturdy; 10-20-2004 at 12:23 PM.

  11. #11
    String Dancer Shea's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    1,931
    Just peel my grapes and fan me with a palm frond! Just kidding! I'm happy to help!
    Hwt! We Gar-Dena in geardagum,/eodcuninga rum gefrunon,/hu a elingas ellen fremedon!
    Oft Scyld Scefing sceaena reatum,/ monegum mgum, meodosetla ofteah,/ egsode eorlas, syan rest wear/ feasceaft funden; he s frofre gebad,/ weox under wolcnum, weormyndum ah,/ ot him ghwylc ara ymbsittendra/ofer hronrade hyran scolde,/gomban gyldan. t ws god cyning!

Similar Threads

  1. On this rock
    By Ickmeister in forum Religious Texts
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 07-01-2009, 11:56 PM
  2. Word of the Day - In Use
    By amuse in forum Forum Games
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 05-23-2005, 01:37 PM
  3. Dear Mom, I put a couple of people in Hell today.
    By AbdoRinbo in forum Religious Texts
    Replies: 323
    Last Post: 02-27-2004, 10:28 AM
  4. The days word
    By Isagel in forum General Chat
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-08-2003, 09:17 AM
  5. The Written Word
    By Carmella in forum Personal Poetry
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 10-19-2003, 08:18 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •