Wednesday, March 08, 2006

(90) The opposite meaning of ´enervated ´.

On the morning of October 12th 1992 I decided that in my column for the following week’s New Statesman
magazine I would refer to Bobby Fischer’s tiredness in the nineteenth game of his ongoing match with Boris Spassky as the underlying cause of his having let slip a winning position.
I intended to refer to him as "enervated".

When I had first come across that word, years earlier, I had thought that it meant "revved up", but I had quickly discovered that in fact it means the exact opposite.
It occurred to me that acquaintances might ask me what this word meant when they saw it in my piece.

That afternoon Nicholas Foster glanced up at me from a phone conversation that he was having with his mother from our office.
He asked me the meaning of the word ‘enervated’.

It transpired that he had deployed it and that his mother had, correctly, told him that it meant the exact opposite of what he had presumed.

I had made no mention to anyone of my intention to use the word in my article.

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