25 July 2013

Don't Call it That

I like language.  I'm not an expert, rather a hobbyist.  I like to play with words in order to convey meaning, tone, emotion and I enjoy writers who do well what I attempt futilely.

I like the utility of words and appreciate the development of contemporary communication, save the text lingo and obsessiveness with acronyms, but that is a fight for another day.

But sometimes, I find, that we don't have words to describe certain things or events.  Neologisms come and go, but it's weird to stumble upon needing a word to describe a thing or event that has been around since civilization dawned.

Take, for instance, when the military in Egypt overthrew the popularly elected government of Mohammed Morsi and suspended the constitution a few weeks ago.  I could have sworn that there was a phrase that we had, of French origin, that described perfectly what that is ("overthrow" is too prosaic).  I scanned wikipedia, I flipped through dusty old books, I meandered through the local library and I couldn't find the words that I was certain existed.

Someone foolishly suggested that the words I was looking for were "coup d'etat," the definition of which is (from dictionary.com):

a sudden and decisive action in politicsespecially one resulting in a change of government illegally or by force.

But that can't be it, because the United State Department of State says unequivocally that what happened in Egypt is not a coup d'etat.  Because if it was, according to the law that authorizes the disbursement of financial and military aid to Egypt if the military overthrows the government, then the more than $1.2 billion dollars that our government takes from current and future taxpayers and sends to Egypt each year would automatically be cut.

So my search continues to find out what to call what happened in Egypt.  Any help would be appreciated.

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