Dear Editor: Pursuing a favorite pastime recently, I did some synonymy surfing. No “big words” were involved; in fact, I focused on three simple, two-syllable words: “civil,” “polite” and “polished.” The elements in denotative meaning for each have led me to the inescapable conclusion that President Donald J. Trump is neither civil nor polite nor polished.
For example, the word “civil” denotes compliance with decent conduct and manners. Civil people are friendly and refrain from rudeness and quarreling; they respect others and don’t use abusive language. Civility, essentially, is a compliance with the rules of society.
“Polite” comes from a Latin word meaning “polished.” Polished people have had the rough edges removed and are smoother, whereas polite people comply with the rules of etiquette. Politeness includes considering others’ comfort, spontaneous, gracious behavior and a kind way of rendering service.
See what I mean?
Next weekend I plan to pursue my synonymy surfing, but with a twist. Lest anyone think that I, a self-avowed critic of Mr. Trump, would focus merely on what Trump lacks, I shall concentrate on what, to even the most casual observer, is painfully obvious.
I’m considering “crude,” “callow” and “crass” for starters.
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