Word of the Day: Invective
noun | in-VEK-tiv
1 : an abusive expression or speech
2 : insulting or abusive language : vituperation
“The ongoing collapse of responsible broadcast and cable journalism and the explosive role that social media has assumed in this campaign have made for a nasty brew of invective, slurs and accusations….” — Susan J. Douglas, In These Times, July 2016
“At a moment when American political discourse has descended to almost unimaginable levels of … invective, we need our teachers to model a better way to discuss our differences.” — Jonathan Zimmerman, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 Aug. 2016
Did You Know?
Invective originated in the 15th century as an adjective meaning “of, relating to, or characterized by insult or abuse.” In the early 16th century, it appeared in print as a noun meaning “an example of abusive speech.” Eventually, the noun developed a second sense applying to abusive language as a whole. Invective comes to us from the Middle French wordinvectif, which in turn derives from Latin invectivus, meaning “reproachful, abusive.” (Invectivus comes from Latin invectus, past participle of the verb invehere, one form of which means “to assail with words.”) Invective is similar to abuse, but it tends to suggest not only anger and vehemence but verbal and rhetorical skill. It sometimes implies public denunciation, as in “blistering political invective.”
It’s a shame really. I think everyone, at one time or another, have been either the victim or abuser of invective language. I don’t care to use it, and I can’t recall a particular instance over the last several years where I have used it. However, I do know that I have, as the feelings I sustained at the time, remain with me to this day. Push comes to shove; I will fall prey to using it. I have also been the victim of such language. For me, it can be degrading, demoralizing, and an outright assault upon my psyche.
That said, it’s a word that I intend to strive to remember and avoid practicing. Searching for an appropriate image found numerous examples, most of which are products such as guns, which I will not promote. Finding a generic one was harder. Persistence prevails so that I may bring one to you.
In my writings, you will find little invective speech, especially in the Mona Bendarova Adventures. Sure, there is coarse language, flavorful language, descriptive, and erotic language, but little in the way of abusive language. Oh, sure, a couple of my characters may utter short abusive outbursts, but they usually don’t last more than a sentence or two. Perhaps I should incorporate more of invective language in my stories.
What do you think? I would love to know. Feel free to share your comments with me.
Brought to you by Merrian-Webster, Word of the Day.