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July 25, 1966

The Pillars of Medicine, Or, Saved by Webster

Author Affiliations

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

JAMA. 1966;197(4):300. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110040110031

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To the Editor:—  In your editorial "A Pillar of Medicine" (195:1145, 1966) I was amazed to find the phrase "manuscripts which... flaunt laws of physiology." I had thought that to "flaunt" and to "flout" had opposite meanings. I was even more astounded to find in the latest Webster's Third International that "flout" is given as a synonym of "flaunt."This is indeed the world of Alice in Wonderland in which we live, when words can be made to have any meaning that we choose to give them. Do you, Sirs, condemn or condone this tendency?This called to mind the obituary notice of the Canadian physician W. S. Stansbury that appeared in Vox Sanguinis a few years ago, "But above all he was loyal to the causes he eschewed...."