Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday meme: mutatis mutandis

Here is the task: name the English word or phrase currently in use that sounds and functions most like a magic word. Justify your word by showing how it can act magically. Hocus Pocus and Abracadabra don't count. Do the dishes probably does, but only if it works.

My example is the phrase mutatis mutandis, which the OED online defines thusly:

With the necessary changes; with due alteration of details (used when comparing two or more cases or situations).

I presume it to be magic because it acts algorithmically to dismiss (disappear) rhetorical difference when comparing similar cases.

I have found it most recently in Spivak's Critique of Post-Colonial Reason (1999).
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