Usage of the word Transpired

Juan   Saturday, February 21, 2004, 03:09 GMT
Is the use of the word transpire to mean “occur†or “happenâ€, pretentious or pompous?
Juan   Saturday, February 21, 2004, 03:11 GMT
What the?


Is the use of the word transpire to mean "occur" or "happen", pretentious or pompous?
Jacob   Saturday, February 21, 2004, 12:22 GMT
Yes, it is a little pretentious. It's used mainly by news reporters, beaurocratic writers, and public speakers who are making a conscious effort to use high-brow vocabulary. It doesn't have much place in conversational English.
Juan   Saturday, February 21, 2004, 22:22 GMT
Is it just in the States though? Is it the same in other English speaking countries?
Juan   Saturday, February 21, 2004, 23:31 GMT
I've been told that pronouncing "controversy" like "con-trov-er-sy" is more correct than "con-tro-ver-sy". GenAm dictionaries have the latter but not the former.
Jim   Tuesday, February 24, 2004, 00:50 GMT has both "con-trov-er-sy" & "con-tro-ver-sy" (i.e. [k..n'] & ['kon-tr..-ve:s(:)]). I'd pronounce it in the latter way.

transpire (LOSE WATER)
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If a body or plant transpires, it loses water through its surface or skin.

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transpire (BECOME KNOWN)
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verb [I] FORMAL
If it transpires that something has happened, this previously secret or unknown fact becomes known:
[+ that] It may yet transpire that ministers knew more than they are admitting at the moment.
As it later transpired, she had known him at school.

transpire (HAPPEN)
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verb [I] FORMAL
to happen:
No one is willing to predict what may transpire at the peace conference.




VERB: Inflected forms: tran·spired, tran·spir·ing, tran·spires

TRANSITIVE VERB: To give off (vapor containing waste products) through the pores of the skin or the stomata of plant tissue.

INTRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To become known; come to light. 2. Usage Problem To come about; happen or occur. 3. To give off vapor containing waste products, as through animal or plant pores.

ETYMOLOGY: French transpirer, from Medieval Latin [*] : Latin [*], trans- + Latin [*], to breathe.

USAGE NOTE: Transpire has been used since the mid-18th century in the sense "leak out, become publicly known," as in Despite efforts to hush the matter up, it soon transpired that the colonels had met with the rebel leaders. This usage has long been standard. The more common use of transpire to mean "occur" or "happen" has had a more troubled history. Though it dates at least to the beginning of the 19th century, language critics have condemned it for more than 100 years as both pretentious and unetymological. There is some sign that resistance to this sense of transpire is abating, however. In a 1969 survey the usage was acceptable to only 38 percent of the Usage Panel; nearly 20 years later, 58 percent accepted it in the sentence All of these events transpired after last week's announcement. Still, many Panelists who accepted the usage also remarked that it was pretentious or pompous.

I'd agree that the use of transpire to mean "occur" or "happen" does sound pretentious and pompous. Not only that but to me it would make the speaker/writer seem as if they were trying to make themselves seem educated when they really show that they are otherwise.

So yes, I'd agree that it is used by these people as a contious effort to use high-brow vocabularly but they in fact show their lack of intellegence because it amounts to a misuse of the word. To use the word in this way is to take a perfectly good word with a specific meaning and reduce it to another synomym for something that there already are plenty of words.

These people turn the word into something like a hackneyed phrase ... a "hackneyed word"? ... like the media's continual reference to Mars as "the Red Planet". They pretend to be smart and high-browed but the real smart ones and the real high-browed snobs are looking down on them for they know this is a load of bollocks.