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Tony Grist

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Mythuse [Mar. 7th, 2019|11:30 am]
Tony Grist
I wish they- by whom I mean journalists and politicians- wouldn't use "myth" to mean "falsehood" or "misconception". A myth isn't either of those things. It's a truth- but not a prosaic truth; it's a truth about the inner reality of things....

I'm not satisfied with that definition, but then the point of any word is that it stands for a quiddity that cannot be expressed adequately by any other words. There is no such thing as an exact synonym. A myth is a myth is a myth just as a rose is a rose is a rose. Accept no substitutes.

One good thing about it: if the misuse of the word occurs near the beginning of an article- or in a headline- you know you can stop reading right there.

[User Picture]From: matrixmann
2019-03-07 01:17 pm (UTC)
"Myth" I refer to the meaning of "a story unproven".
As "myth" can also be a legend about something, a vague promise to give hope to the hopeless.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-03-07 01:35 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't accept either of those definitions.

Myths are different from legends. Broadly speaking a myth has to do with gods and suchlike spiritual forces- and legends are to do with human beings. For example, the creation story in Genesis is a myth and the story of Moses and the Exodus is a legend. There is, of course some overlap.
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[User Picture]From: matrixmann
2019-03-07 01:38 pm (UTC)
Well, that's personal content association to the word from my end.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2019-03-08 09:19 am (UTC)
Now you've got me thinking. It looks like it's one of those words that's in the process of reversing its meaning.

As you say, myth used to mean a deep truth, usually religious, buried in a story, now it means something false. It's like "let", which used to mean "prevent" and now means "allow". Words are so slippery like that.

Interestingly I'd use it in both senses, depending on context.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-03-08 09:38 am (UTC)
I don't want to lose the original sense of "myth" because I don't think we've got anything to put in its place.
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