Marty Pertez's word power!

Media criticism.
Aug. 4 2006 6:11 PM

Marty Peretz's Word Power

Ultramontane. Chiliastic. Irredentist. Revanchism. And more!

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Although tone deaf, Peretz ain't blind. He reads his critics and sometimes even accepts their advice. Back in 1991, I pilloried him in the Washington City Paper for—among other things—using the word perfervid five times in 40 columns. He removed the word from his forward arsenal and stored it in his Cambridge munitions dump but couldn't resist its call. A decade later he returned it to active duty for an Oct. 15, 2001, column.

He didn't use it once, but twice inside of four words.

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Around the New Republic office, Peretz loves to yodel the words revanche and revanchism, but I can find only one instance of him using it in a piece (Aug. 7, 1995). Back in 1979, he dismissed the content of The Nation as reflexively gauchiste, which The Nation wanted to take as an insult but couldn't decode. Finally, to prove that I'm not a word prig, here's a bundle of Martywords I chose not to ridicule: redivivus; feuilletonists; scholia; epiphenomenon; meliorist; prelapsarian; citoyen; satyagraha; particularist; and eradicationalists. Send your favorite Peretzism to slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

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Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com.