Otherworldly Words: Vanquish

Vanquish is one of those words that many people find interchangeable with words like decimate or annihilate.  These words are a really good example of how visiting the thesaurus and hitting replace doesn’t quite do the job sometimes. As I stated in my post “The thesaurus is out to get us,” the nuances of words are lost.

Decimate, for instance, means “to destroy a great number of” or, at its root, to destroy 10% If you kill 10%, then you leave 90%. Annihilate is the flip, you are leaving something in “utter ruin” and likely leaving only 10%.

Vanquish, while sounding harsh, means to defeat. There is no mention of the magnitude, just the victory.


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