WordNerds: Anticippointment

clipart meeting

This is surely a feeling only a cynical or jaded person could have. The word was discovered by my friend Luciana Pimentel in a dictionary of “work jargon”. Well, I guess people do get jaded by their workplaces and know from experience that the next training seminar or PowerPoint presentation might not be the most scintillating part of their day.

Luciana, not her dictionary, provided two definitions of anticippointment:

  1. The inevitability of the bloom coming off the rose [I like this poetic definition—cynical, but true, I have to admit]
  2. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, also known as The Impossibility of a Perpetuum Mobile of the Second Degree. (Luciana admitted that this definition is for the geeks among us.)

With this second definition, Luciana is referring to the attempts by countless inventors to create a perpetual motion machine. Physicists agree it can’t be done, because this would violate the laws of thermodynamics. If you really want to explore this further, wikipedia can help.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_law_of_thermodynamics

I liked “anticippointment because it’s such a clever combination of “anticipation” and “disappointment”. It rolls off the tongue easily, too.

However, upon thinking about it more carefully, I’ve decided that the word is an oxymoron. By definition, disappointment implies some kind of surprise; something turned out differently than was expected. But if you are already anticipating a negative outcome, how can you be surprised—and thus disappointed?

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