Posted by Smokey Stover on April 27, 2006
In Reply to: I am of the former persuasion. posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 26, 2006
: : : I am of the former persuasion.
: : : Please, I'm not a native speaker, and couldn't find anything on the internet about the meaning or the origin of this phrase. Can anybody help me? Thank you!
: : When you are given two choices, the first choice is "the former" and the second is "the latter". If someone asks you if you are liberal or conservative, you're either the former or the latter (if you choose to answer).
: - And one of the meanings of "persuasion" is "a creed or belief: a group or sect holding a specific creed or belief".
You are of such-and-such a persuasion if you are persuaded by it, and it used to be a sober-faced characterization of belief in a particular sect. Nowadays, it is often used facetiously or with a faint attempt at humour to characterize any differences in religious or intellectual adherence. Thus, one could hear, before p.c. became so intense, a conversation like, "The man you're looking for is Mr. Abramson." "Oh, is he of the Jewish persuasion?" Among cosmogonists one might have heard, perhaps 50 years ago, "Are you of the Big Bang persuasion, or do you believe in continuous creation?" The choice between the "liberal persuasion" and the conservative one has been mentioned. (Incidentally, for trivialogists, the phrase "Big Bang theory" was coined as a term of derision by Fred Hoyle, the leading proponent of continuous creation, or the steady-state universe.) SS