Friday, January 30, 2009

Pet Peeve Friday - And your Point is?

In today's Pet Peeve Friday I'm going to talk about making your point. Of course your point has to be able to be made, in other words it has to be able to say something and be able to understand other points so as to have a debate. Now here is my pet peeve. Some people think that when the point is no longer relevant it is "mute". I've got news for you. If the point is "mute" it's not able to say anything nor is it able to hear anything. In other words it doesn't exist! Mute is defined as:

  • silent; refraining from speech or utterance.
  • not emitting or having sound of any kind.
  • incapable of speech; dumb.
  • (of letters) silent; not pronounced.
  • Law. (of a person who has been arraigned) making no plea or giving an irrelevant response when arraigned, or refusing to stand trial (used chiefly in the phrase to stand mute).
  • Fox Hunting. (of a hound) hunting a line without giving tongue or cry.

- noun
  • a person incapable of speech.
  • an actor whose part is confined to dumb show.
  • Law. a person who stands mute when arraigned.
  • Also called sordino. a mechanical device of various shapes and materials for muffling the tone of a musical instrument.
  • Phonetics. a stop.
  • British Obsolete. a hired mourner at a funeral; a professional mourner.

- verb (used with object)
  • to deaden or muffle the sound of.
  • to reduce the intensity of (a color) by the addition of another color.

Now the correct way to label a point as no longer being relevant is to call the point "moot". This means that the point is no longer is in play as something else has either taken its place or has rendered it irrelevant. The definition of moot is:

- adjective
  • open to discussion or debate; debatable; doubtful: a moot point.
  • of little or no practical value or meaning; purely academic.
  • Chiefly Law. not actual; theoretical; hypothetical.

- verb (used with object)
  • to present or introduce (any point, subject, project, etc.) for discussion.
  • to reduce or remove the practical significance of; make purely theoretical or academic.
  • Archaic. to argue (a case), esp. in a mock court.

- noun
  • an assembly of the people in early England exercising political, administrative, and judicial powers.
  • an argument or discussion, esp. of a hypothetical legal case.
  • Obsolete. a debate, argument, or discussion.

So the next time you hear someone state that a point is "mute" please ask them if it is able to speak and hear. I guarantee you will get funny looks. Also please make sure to correct the person as we wouldn't want people who are intelligent to look silly. That or you can quote Will Smith in I Robot:

You are the dumbest smart person I know

1 comment:

poppingbubbles said...

I can't tell you how many times I have heard people use that expression and it drives me nuts! I always want to yell MOOT! THE POINT IS MOOT YOU IDIOT! But, being polite, I just smile and nod....LOL