Back in April I took William Safire to task for peddling the nonexistent “Russian word” razbliuto (and I’m happy to report that that post is now the #1 Google hit for razbliuto, so seekers will find the information they need); his latest column ends with the following plangent paragraph:

In an article on the need to steal words from other languages to fill our vocabu-gap, I noted references to razbliuto, ”a feeling a person has for someone he or she once loved but no longer feels the same way about.” It came to me from some Russian speakers but generated a dozen letters from others who insist that the word does not exist. These nyet-sayers are joined by the two experts I consulted, Austin and Patera at McGill. Others write that the word my original sources must have had in mind is the verb razliubit, which means simply ”to stop loving.”

Now, I don’t believe for a second that “Russian speakers” told him this word exists (and in fact in his original column he said he got it from Christopher Moore’s book In Other Words), but it’s mildly impressive that he’s taking the trouble to correct himself. Two cheers for Bill!


  1. Richard Hershberger says

    I’m only willing to grant one cheer: starting from the default three, I subtract one for weaseling about his source and a second for being too dumb to keep his story straight. He should show his readership enough respect to at least try to bullshit plausibly.

  2. When I saw that headline, the first thing that popped into my head was a picture of Safire retracting slowly into the ground, maybe rotating as he descended, as though being screwed back into whatever hole he came out of. . .

  3. Now, that I’d pay money to see!

  4. Now maybe he could retract his pieces linking Iraq and Al Qaida.

  5. Amen.

  6. He might retract the pieces wich wouldn’t make a slightest difference to the link itself.

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