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The Case for a New Word: Sintextualize

Never say "out-of context" again. (Ethan Weiser'22/Managing editor)

Perusing an article about quitting and failure by Rachel Friedman in the May/June issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette late week, I came across a passage reading, “poor Samuel Beckett’s out-of context ‘Fail again. Fail better’ quote.” 

Having studied under an advisor whose unofficial mantra, in my mind, is “words are like dollars – save them,” I thought to myself, “is there a more efficient way of expressing the phrase “out-of-context”? A quick Google search for antonyms of contextualize, a word whose meaning according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “to place in a context,” yielded one insufficient result: isolated.

Upon seeing this, I realized our language was missing a formally recognized word. All too often, people utter the phrase, “that was taken out of context,” but, as mentioned before, this phrase has too many words. Also, the prefix con, from Latin’s cum meaning “with,” has a ready-made antonym in the possible prefix of sin, from Latin’s sin, meaning “without.” 

To me, this is a word that could be used frequently and added easily to our vocabularies. So I submitted it to the Oxford English Dictionary, to which one can fill in an online form to suggest an addition to the dictionary.

In six easy steps, I suggested “sintextualize,” a verb meaning to take out of context, to be in the May 2020 update of the dictionary.

In doing this, I felt as though for the first time ever, I made a contribution to the language that I, along with around 1.5 billion people, speak. 

So please, even if it does not become added to the dictionary immediately, add “sintextualize” to your everyday vocabulary. If enough people begin to use it, then it may eventually be added to the dictionary. 

Next time someone takes something out of context, tell them, “You sintextualized that.”


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