Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The formal piling up of words

Again, Mr.  Micawber had a relish in the formal piling up of words, which, however ludicrously  displayed in his case, was, I must say, not at all peculiar to  him. I have observed it, in the course of  my life, in numbers of men. It seems to me to be a general rule. In the taking of legal oaths, for instance, deponents seem to enjoy themselves mightily when they come to several good words in succession, for the  expression of one idea; as, that  they utterly detest, abominate, and abjure, and so forth; and the old anathemas were made relishing  on the same principle. We talk about  the tyranny of words, but we like to tyrannize over them too; we are fond of having a large superfluous establishment of words to wait upon us on great occasions; we think it looks important and sounds well.
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850), ch. 52

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