Tuesday 25 May 2004


The Oxford Dictionary website has a 'Word of the Day' email service, which sends you an unusual word every morning. In my nerdy moments (there are quite a few of them), I amuse myself by using the Word of the Day in the next email I send out. Today's word is 'zabernism':

[ZAB-er-niz-um] an obsolete word meaning 'the abuse of military power or authority; unjustified aggression'. From the name Zabern, the German name for Saverne in Alsace, where in 1912 an overeager German subaltern killed a cobbler who smiled at him.

I am surprised not to have come across it in recent media. See how many times you can squeeze it into discussion today, then read some of CASE's material on Just War in the Topics:ethics section and elsewhere on the website.

More info? Send CASE an email


Craig Schwarze said...

The new template is a lot nicer Greg

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm Shiloh Isham. I've just discovered CASE Blog. I like CASE magazine and I like blogs, so this is great.

"[ZAB-er-niz-um] an obsolete word..." I wonder if "zabernism" is obsolete because it's old or because few people differentiate between agressive war and just war these days, such that many think a "zabernic war" is tautological.

Greg Clarke said...

Hi Shiloh

You may be right, although I suspect the recent photos of torture in Iraq might bring this word back into the vocabulary. If war is sometimes necessary and just, there must also be a necessary and just way of conducting it--an 'unzabernistic war'.

Anonymous said...

tautological: sort of like "Groundhog Day"