Friday, December 21, 2007


OK, it's a word kind of day, I suppose. There's a great (newish, I think) band called Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins. In their song "The Charging Sky", a nice lyric about religion (read the whole thing here). What struck me was this:
And it's a surefire bet I'm gonna die
So I'm taking up praying on Sunday nights
And it's not that I believe in your almight
But I might as well, as insurance or bail.
My interest, for the moment, is not in this popular statement of what philosophers call "Pascal's Wager" (summarized here), but in "your almight". Is it a back formation from almighty? Would make sense, surely. In flipping through a few g-hits (hey, when did THAT word die out?), I find basically misspellings of the adjective.


The Ridger, FCD said...

Surely it's "all might", as in "omnipotence", backformed from "almighty" which, I suppose, started as "all mighty" like "all powerful, all seeing, all knowing"?

It's weird, though.

Mr. Verb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Verb said...

I'm just listening to the album right now, as it happens. Yeah, it's got to be a backformation, but the al- prefix attached historically to the adjective mighty, so I'm guessing there wasn't ever an almight. It's odd, thinking about it, how widespread the omni- has ended up being.

Jenny Lewis just great, though ... wild sense of timing and a wicked sense of humor.