One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The doctrine that the meanings of ethical or aesthetic terms and statements are purely descriptive rather than prescriptive, evaluative, or emotive.
- ‘American linguistics between the 1930s and 1950s was dominated by Bloomfieldian descriptivism.’
- ‘The robust version of descriptive philosophy of science derives from, or superimposes upon, the conclusions of modest descriptivism, a theory about evaluative practice.’
- ‘That's why I don't like the standard distinction between descriptivists and prescriptivists - descriptivism is what you should do when writing a dictionary, prescriptivism when writing a style guide.’
- ‘In practice, dictionaries take a middle course between wholehearted descriptivism and prescriptive edicts.’
- ‘It's a bizarre tale about the passions stirred by what its critics saw as the dangerous shift, in the early 1960s, from prescriptivism to descriptivism in America's most authoritative dictionary.’
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