Early in our collaboration Maggie Gallagher e-mailed me with the following challenge, “What’s your definition of marriage? If you’re going to use a word, you need a definition of the word.”
I doubt that.
After all, most English speakers can competently use the word “yellow,” but ask the average person to define the term (without merely pointing to examples) and watch him stammer. Then try words like “law,” “opinion,” “religion,” and “game” just for fun. It’s quite common to have functional knowledge of how to use a term without being able to articulate its definition.
Okay, you say, but as someone deeply involved in the marriage debate, surely I have some definition to offer? Yes and no. I have definitions to offer, not a single definition.
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i'm the leftist liberal you've been warned about - the one who genuinely supports the expansion of the welfare state. i love politics and data and graffiti and street art and am far too lazy to use my shift key. if you need to reach me, you can email to abbyjean at the google email service.