Today’s Dictionary Update: Serious vs. Unserious

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


As a public service, here is today’s installment of Capitol Hill lexicology. Today’s subject: serious vs. unserious deficit proposals. As committed descriptivists here, we naturally define these words by their actual usage among contemporary users of the language:

Serious (ser ee uhs) adj. any of a group of proposals that immiserates large numbers of ordinary people, either immediately or in the future, via cuts to broad-based social welfare programs.

Unserious (un ser ee uhs) adj. any proposal that slightly inconveniences rich people via modest tax increases or annoys military contractors via small cuts to the Defense Department.

As near as I can tell, that’s about it. Have I missed any nuances?

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate