How to Properly Use a Factoid

As a child, I loved seaplanes, that is, planes where the fuselage was shaped like a boat, enabling the plane to take off and land on water. I think it comes from watching the show Tales of the Gold Monkey as a child (it was one of the spate of knock-offs that came out the year after Raiders of the Lost Ark was a hit.)

I still like seaplanes. The Grumman Goose, the Grumman Albatros, the Catalina PBY. I have little or no interest in floatplanes, which are regular planes with pontoons for landing gear. For many years, any time someone referred to a floatplane as a seaplane, I would correct them. I only recently let that go.

Why do I bring that up? No reason. Hey, on an unrelated note, I suspect Missy might have something to say about this comic.

Note from Missy: BLAAARRHGHLEBARGLE! Dang “factoid”! Coined in 1973 by Norman Mailer, it originally meant “invented facts that are believed to be true because of repeated use,” but as the years rolled on, and people used it incorrectly to mean “a brief and often trivial fact,” the wrong has become the right, and now both definitions are deemed acceptable by dictionaries. I know that language has to evolve, but when words take a complete 180 (like how “literally” is now defined as “figuratively” in some dictionaries), you’ll still find me over in the corner, cringing.


On the plus side, a discussion about factoid caused Scott to make me LOL: “Actually, it's only a factoid while it's still in space. Once it hits the ground it's a factite.”


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