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Posted by Smokey Stover on October 21, 2004

In Reply to: Nugatory? posted by Lewis on October 21, 2004

: : : What word best describes an action that is self-defeating, or contrary to its own purpose; eg, DOE's hydrogen-fuel program to make us less dependent on it includes a program to extract hydrogen from oil

: : Nugatory might be made to serve, but what's wrong with self-defeating? SS

: nugatory sounds either like a nut-based sweetmeat or something you do to a right-wing politician.

: "self-negating" would be a compromise.

: counter-productive, contradictory, there's quite a lexicon for stupidity.

Lewis has provided some fine and apposite words. But I still fail to see the faults of self-defeating. If it's not a word, then why have I seen so many examples of it used as a word? Even if it had been coined for just this occasion, the coinage follows the usual pattern of using known words in a way that conveys a clear meaning. In this case, the process defeats the purpose for which it was created. It is self-defeating. SS