December 17th, 2017

Catelli on Elided

Yesterday I was talking about how the word "elide" is used and how I had been puzzling over a sentence in the Wall St. Journal, where I thought it had been used in a sense of transitioning from one step to another.

It has a sense of joining things together, but by means of snipping out in-between steps.

Mary Catelli correctly commented:

"Which means it's not just transition."

So I went back to the original column just now:

"During 2016, the counterintelligence activities of the Obama administration elided, informally and erratically (and clumsily), into an attempt to protect Hillary Clinton and keep Mr. Trump out of the White House, then to delegitimize his election when these efforts all went absurdly and embarrassingly awry." ("Mueller Should Ask for Help", by Holman W. Jenkins Jr., Behind the WSJ paywall here.)

Well, I still find the usage a bit jarring, upon reflection. One sort of activities (counterintelligence) "elided" into another sort of activity (partisan politics). If we want to justify the extended use of "elided", something should be "dropped out" along the way. Well, in the author's version, what got dropped out to make this transition possible?

Maybe he thinks they accomplished this transition
By dropping what had been their original mission.