Antoine Pitrou wrote:
Le lundi 28 février 2011 à 13:56 -0600, Benjamin Peterson a écrit :
2011/2/28 Antoine Pitrou firstname.lastname@example.org:
On Mon, 28 Feb 2011 13:36:11 -0500 Terry Reedy email@example.com wrote:
- an existing branch. The pusher then has to merge the superfetatory heads
'superfetatory'? I have no idea of what this is, neither does merriam-webster.com ;-).
There are some Google hits, though... Not sure if they are of people making the same mistakes as I do ;)
Endly, perhaps it will be adopted. Did you mean "superfluous" though?
I really meant superfetatory (it's slightly different: superfluous is simply useless, while superfetatory implies that it's in excess).
My wife has a copy of the shorter Oxford English dictionary, so we looked it up. There's no listing for superfetatory, but there is "superfetation":
1. a second conception occurring during pregnancy; the formation of a second fetus in a uterus already pregnant; 1b. botany the fertilization of the same ovule by two different kinds of pollen; 2. (figurative) additional or super-abundant production or occurrence; the growth or accretion of one thing on another; and instance of this; an accretion; an excrescence.
She commented that sesquipedalian words like superfetation are probably either specialised jargon, or known by people like Clive James and very few others :)
I think that superfluous simply means "excess to requirements but merely useless", while superfetatory would imply harmfully in excess. In any case, it's a wonderful word and I will try to casually drop it into conversation every now and then to annoy people *wink*