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Riverine

adjective;
lacking clear boundaries and capable of shifting The writer of this article wanted to describe sexuality using an obscure word that would send most people running to their dictionaries, as the writers of time so often love to do. See notes. The writer also probably also chose use the word “riverine” because its traditional definition puts in close semantic association to “murky,” an adjective that can be used to describe rivers. Given the use of both terms joined by the word “and,” I assume that “riverine” has a meaning largely distinct from “murky.” The editors of Time love to have their writers use obscure words in an effort to make the writers seem sesquipedalian and therefore, intelligent. I believe this is to make up for the fact that these articles often lack substantial content and are poorly written. Time probably loses its intellectual market to a magazine like Newsweek and probably also wants to attract studious students to read its magazine by including vocabulary words in them. “Riverine” is already an established word within the language. However, the aforementioned usage of “riverine” is neologistic because the established definition of “riverine”, “resembling or relating to a river” does not make any sense in this given context. “Riverine”, as an establish word, cannot be used to describe something that is not related to a physical river. It does not have metaphorical abstract usage. However, the writer of this article gave it such usage, thus coining a new definition for the word. In the above example, “riverine” is used to describe the abstract concept of sexuality. I am basing my definition of “riverine” on the fact that the article uses the word to describe a “sexuality” that without gender boundaries, although the word might mean something else in this context. Regardless of its meaning, it is still a neologism.
 
Because kids often see their sexuality as riverine and murky—multiple studies have found most teens with same-sex attractions have had sex with both boys and girls—conservatives hope their ‘ex-gay’ message will keep some of those kids from embracing a gay
Etymology : River Middle English rivere, river, from Old French rivere, riviere riverbank, land along a river, river, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin riparia, from Latin, feminine of riparius riparian, from ripa bank, shore + -arius -ary + -ine (N)
Source : Time, October 10, 2005, 45, column 3, par. 1
Last modified: 10 June 2008


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