Ostensible – Friday’s Word of the Day

Today’s Word of the Day fro the Free Dictionary is Ostensible. It entered the English language in the Mid 18th century: from French, from medieval Latin ostensibilis from Latin ostens- ‘stretched out to view’, from the verb ostendere, from ob- ‘in view of’ + tendere ‘to stretch’. It means “Stated or appearing to be true, but not necessarily so.”

When I looked for examples of this word used in a sentence, I was inundated with a many references to politics, religion and conflicts touted to be something they were not. These examples certainly prove one thing: that human nature and how we accomplish what motivates us through deception hasn’t changed much. Here are a few quotes to show you what I mean from Your Dictionary.com:

‘It was a simple matter to manipulate these so as to throw the effective power into the hands of the propertied classes without ostensibly The depriving any one of the vote.’

‘The Federal government now attempted to enlist recruits, ostensibly to protect the western frontier from the Indians, but actually for the suppression of the insurrection; but the plan failed from lack of funds, and the insurgents continued to interrupt the procedure of the courts.’

‘In any case the countess profited by the cardinal’s conviction to borrow from him sums of money destined ostensibly for the queen’s works of charity.’

‘A serious outbreak took place at Adrianople in 1804, where 20,000 of the new troops had been sent, ostensibly to put down the revolt in Servia, but really to try to bring about the reform of the European provinces.’

‘In June 1770 Frederick surrounded those of the Polish provinces he coveted with a military cordon, ostensibly to keep out the cattle plague.’

‘It is a striking example of the way in which such legends grow, that it is only the latest of these authorities, Hsiian Tsang, who says that, though ostensibly approaching the Buddha with a view to reconciliation, Devadatta had concealed poison in his nail with the object of murdering the Buddha.’

See what I mean? Power, politics, and faux piety are fertile ground for application of this word. Very timely indeed! Here are a few Haiku.

Have a great weekend!

Ostensibly caused the war
But it was revenge

motives are revealed
ostensibly kind acts
become self-serving

ostensible posts
impress anonymously
online mugs deceive


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