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What does ‘deleterious’ mean?

'Tis pity wine should be so deleterious
For tea and coffee leave us much more serious
-Byron

It’s not just you. Deleterious is an obscure word. Derived from the Latin word “noxious,” deleterious describes something poisonous, harmful; a situation you don’t want to be around. It’s why we’re using it here in a political sense.

As a label, deleterious aptly portrays the phenomenon of negative relations among people. There has always been a negative side to the human community. The optimist says, take the good with the bad. Look at the bright side. Endure.

Solomon replied, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The problems we face in the 21st century have been overcome before. Trapped in our finite time, no one is an expert on history. For us to declare our problems are worse is logically suspect.

We can speak more confidently about our own era. Some of us can say, within the past fifty years, the political issues we face have become more noxious, not less.

The list of deleterious human events appears to be growing, both in length and in severity. As well, our access to reliable information about the world is diminishing.

As bad as things seem to be in our city, country, or in the world, there’s nothing worse than reacting on impulse. The first thing we often hear is half the truth.

At The Deleterious, we ask questions meant to understand these problems better.

You probably won’t use deleterious in conversation anytime soon. We hope you’ll type it into your browser once in a while. Hopefully, together, we can clear the air.

This post first appeared at The Deleterious.

Eugene Havens

Eugene is a writer working on books and websites. Check out Eugene's novel here.

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