Philip Babcock Gove: Inchoate heterogeneous conglomerate

“It may be observed that the English language is not a system of logic, that its vocabulary has not developed in correlation with generations of straight thinkers, that we cannot impose upon it something preconceived as an ideal of scientific method and expect to come out with anything more systematic and more clarifying than what we start with: what we start with is an inchoate heterogeneous conglomerate that retains the indestructible bones of innumerable tries at orderly communication, and our definitions as a body are bound to reflect this situation.”

—Philip Babcock Gove, lexicographer (27 Jun 1902-1972).

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