A Factlet For All

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Additionally, some earlier writings:
More and more often I hear people saying and see people writing "factoid", by which they mean

"A small piece of factually correct
information - a small fact."

But that's inconsistent! I know, language is weird, it doesn't really follow mathematical (or any other!) rules, it's not at all consistent, and you kind of have to make it up as you go along.

But consider ...

  • A "humanoid" is something that takes the appearance of,
    • but in fact is not a human;
  • A "cuboid" is something that's vaguely like a cube,
    • but in fact is not a cube;
  • An "asteroid" is something that's like a star,
    • but in fact is not a star;

and so on.

On this basis a "factoid" is something that looks like a fact, but is, in fact, not a fact!

I know I'm fighting a losing battle on this, and that grammatical and linguistic drift will overwhelm me in a sea of inconsistencies and lost opportunities. After all, consider other examples such as:

  • The proof is in the pudding;
  • I could care less;
  • You could loose the fight;

and so on.

But as Sky Masterson says to Nathan Detroit in "Guys and Dolls", "You can fight it Nathan, you can fight it."

Of course, as my wife points out, he does, in the end, lose ...

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