In trying to express themselves, graduate students often make up words.  Some of these are useful, pithy neologisms.  Most of them, however, are misguided attempts to avoid using shorter, simpler, more meaningful words.

Every Friday, Every so often, I will attempt to define one particularly complexicatable term from the Graduate School Dictionary, full as it is of portmanteaus, malapropisms, and outright gibberish.

Each example is one that I have actually heard used, or else that I have found myself using.

eventalization, n.

[ ɪˈvɛntlˌaɪzˈeɪʃən ]

1.  The process by which something usually taken as a fact is shown to be the product of a specific historical event or discourse.

2. The defining of chance circumstances, and especially of disasters and catastrophes, as finite events.

3. A series of syllables used to avoid saying the word history.

Possible root words: Event, eventual, izationization.

Aural appeal: Uglier than cockapoo, uglier even than orifice.

Completely unnecessary syllables: At least 1 (al).

Number of uses on the Internet, according to Google: 13,400.

Why might it be necessary? Michel Foucault uses the word eventalization to describe a process by which we may denaturalize history.  “It means uncovering the procedure of causal multiplication: analysing an event according to the multiple processes that constitute it,” Foucault writes.

Why might it be unnecessary? What Foucault describes is really nothing more than what history should do anyway–and it is generally better to complicate an existing term than to introduce a cumbersome (and ugly) new one.

So, is it worth using? Not really, no.

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