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    #1

    sham duplicity

    Just as a malefactor could feign honesty in order to dupe a victim, likewise a superhero might sham duplicity in order to trick a villain.

    I see the author tries to draw an inversed comparison:

    bad pretends good to do bad to good vs. good pretends bad to do bad to bad

    Is the idea natural to you? Would you choose "duplicity" after sham to fill the dotted line? A superhero shams? To me shamming and being a superhero are conflicting ideas. To me superhero and outwit are compatible ideas.

    Sham duplicity?

    What do you think?

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: sham duplicity

    The use of sham as a verb strikes me as a bit arch. I think the writer relies too heavily on a dictionary of synonyms - heavily and uncritically, as it seems to me that 'sham' has a pejorative connotation.

    Besides, I agree that while a superhero could feign or pretend or make a show of or imitate something, sham doesn't really fit.

    b

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: sham duplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    The use of sham as a verb strikes me as a bit arch. I think the writer relies too heavily on a dictionary of synonyms - heavily and uncritically, as it seems to me that 'sham' has a pejorative connotation.

    Besides, I agree that while a superhero could feign or pretend or make a show of or imitate something, sham doesn't really fit.

    b
    I don't see the problem. Are you saying that 'feign' doesn't have negative connotations?
    Sham: to go through the external motions necessary to counterfeit.
    Basically it means the same as to 'feign, pretend'.
    svartnik seems to be arguing against the concept of a superhero doing this; but that's what the text says.
    You could protest "Superman wouldn't do that!!", but that's not a question of English.
    In any case, for those who do see a distinction, perhaps the author intended the negative connotation. After all, he is pointing out that superheroes can feign with the best of the crooks.

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: sham duplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I don't see the problem. Are you saying that 'feign' doesn't have negative connotations?
    I'm saying exactly that. A goodie can 'feign gratitude' when receiving the umpteenth ill-fitting hand-knitted jumper from his mother-in-law at Christmas. Baddies sham (if anyone does - as I said, it's rarely used as a verb where I live).
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Sham: to go through the external motions necessary to counterfeit.
    Basically it means the same as to 'feign, pretend'...
    For me, very few words mean the same as each other. Basically, glass is the same as sand. It all depends what you mean by 'basically' (and by 'mean'). Different strokes for different folks.

    b

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: sham duplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I'm saying exactly that. A goodie can 'feign gratitude' when receiving the umpteenth ill-fitting hand-knitted jumper from his mother-in-law at Christmas. Baddies sham (if anyone does - as I said, it's rarely used as a verb where I live).

    b
    We don't use 'sham' as a verb where I come from either. Maybe we shouldn't be discussing it?
    But if you are defining 'sham' as something that baddies do, while 'feign' is something that good guys do, then by definition, no, Superman can't sham (at least if you consider him good).

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: sham duplicity

    Just found this exception to my observation about sham not working as a verb in Br English: To sham Abraham - definition of To sham Abraham by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia. . I've never heard anyone say it though, and I haven't used it myself. But it's an 'idiom' I had to learn at primary school (in the '50s - which makes it pretty old; not 'as old as Methuselah' though )

    b

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    #7

    Re: sham duplicity

    Surely, if they shammed duplicity, they'd be caught out????

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