Booknomics

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That’s the Word for It: Panglossian

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Panglossian comes from Pangloss, the name of a character from Voltaire’s novel Candide, first published in 1759. In the novel, Pangloss is an unpragmatic optimist with an attitude reminiscent of the character Don Quixote. The word originates from the Greek Pan which means all and glossa which means tongue.- this translates into a kind of smug facility with language, otherwise known as glibness.

Let’s have a look at how the word has been used in fiction:

“He wants to believe that Shakespeare wrote all those books, that Lincoln fought the Civil War to free the slaves and the United States fought World War II to rescue the Jews and keep the world safe for democracy, that Jesus and the double feature are coming back. But I’m no Panglossian American.”
― Paul Beatty, The Sellout

 

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