Flat Earth: Clearing his name

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The Independent Online
TO HAVE one's career ruined by allegations of corruption is one thing. To have the only word derived from one's name removed from the dictionary is, we imagine, a fate worse than death. Bettino Craxi, Italy's longest-serving prime minister, who gave the Italian language the noun craxismo - a synonym for political decisiveness - is nonplussed. 'I think the imbecile who made the decision to remove the word is as big an imbecile as the one who decided to include it,' he said with characteristic craxismo.

Giancarlo Oli, editor of Devoto-Oli, Italy's equivalent of the Concise Oxford, decided to delete the word from the next edition, due out in 1995. He explained: 'When a word is derived from a proper name it only has value if that person continues to play a role.'

We are not sure about that. Imagine English without spoonerism and malapropism. And what would we have done if the dictionary had taken away boycott when the Captain died? No, you're wrong there, Mr Oli.

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