Redundant Repetition

Katie and I were conversing awhile ago about words that have taken on a pejorative tone even though they shouldn’t. “Critical” has come to suggest finding fault in something, and “judgment” is so tainted that exercising the ability, about other people anyway, is seen as a character flaw.

So it was just a matter of time before I opened the dictionary.

“Critical” comes from the Greek. The noun krinein means to separate, decide, part, distinguish, put asunder. Kritos is picked and kritikos means one skilled in judging. The original critics were poetry judges.

“Judgment” comes from the Latin judicare. A judge is a decider.

See where I’m going? Not only should the two words be allowed to preserve their positive potential, but why on earth do we put them together? Why say critical judgment? What’s an uncritical judgment (besides an oxymoron)?

For that matter, can we now cut out the phrase “competent counsel?” I don’t know what moron first inserted the adjective, and I’m even more boggled that we let him succeed. Who consults incompetent counsel? And if they do, then does the disclaimer about consulting competent counsel cease to apply? Doesn’t “counsel” carry its own intimations of competence?

Want me to reiterate? Hello? Where’d that come from? To “iterate” means to repeat. It doesn’t need the “re.”

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