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Monday, May 30, 2016

Taking Care With Superlatives

profound: having deep insight; intellectually penetrating. What was the circumstance surrounding your last non-ironic use of profound?

Profound is a word I use sparingly. I can't recall a single instance where I've applied it to one of my own conclusions. Even by my sometimes immodest standards, labeling a thought as profound seems excessive. My line in the semantic sand - at least for something I claim as mine - ends with calling a thought insightful.

Among the attributes I most admire in a thinker - public figures or friends - is taking care in the use of superlatives. For me, profound occupies the same spare linguistic territory as genius. And hearing or reading "deeply profound" has been known to set my teeth on edge. Your thoughts? 

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