As some of you know, one of my peeves is to hear a very good word taken, misused, and stretched in meaning to something not even remotely related. Result is that its use in the first definition gets lost and we then find ourselves without just the right unique word. |
Case in point: This morning, on National Public Radio, an educated man was speaking on the various political and ethnic factions in Afghanistan, opining that certain Pashtun groups might be "problematical" in the formation of a new government.
Not once, but continuously he used this term when he should have said "create a problem" or "present a problem" or something except "be problematical."
Problematical comes from "probability", a degree of certainty, a high or low degree of probability that something will or will not happen. It's statistical in nature. It has nothing to do with the word "problem" which describes a set of conditions which require solving or resolution.
When educated people misuse a word consciously and purposefully, those of us with less education pick it up and use it. "If I use that word, then I'll sound as educated as he!"
Am I correct in my concern about this word?
||I'm not sure I understand your thesis. Here's what Webster's describes: Problematic. Do you simply disagree with it? I believe I've missed your point.|
I think I disagree. Problematical, having a statistical meaning, means the degree of certainty, anywhere from impossible - zero - to dead sure )100% probability). |
In its most common usage (as... it's problematic that I'll be available,) it has a rather negative context, although it can imply a reciprocal - a high degree of certainty if you want to stretch it. (as... I'll most likely be available if nothing more happens.) It's simply that probability and problem aren't synonyms as I see them.
When people are creating trouble and discontent, they are creating a problem for those around them, no question or probability that they are. Simply, they are.