Saved by the Dictionary

Some time back, several of my friends set about to give me a hard time when I kept using the term “agnostic” in a manner in which they felt was improper. An example:

“I’m really agnostic about operating systems.”

They gave me, the would-be theologian of the group, quite a hard time about it.

Turns out that I was right after all.

Just now, I was reading something written by Eric Meyer:

The markup isn’t exactly pretty: it requires a couple of wrapper divs just to set up the column backgrounds/separators. This isn’t more markup-heavy than a table constructed to serve the same layout goals, but then it isn’t a whole lot less heavy either. Personally, I remain agnostic on which is a better approach. Bending a table to layout purposes isn’t clean, but to my eye, neither is constructing a couple of 3000-pixel background images just to get the effect a simple three-cell table can allow. You’re hacking your way around limitations in CSS either way you go.

As I read it, my mind thought, “Man, I must have gotten the poor use of ‘agnostic’ from Eric,” knowing that I am prone to steal people’s phraseology from time to time. I then looked up the adjective definition of agnostic and saw: “uncommitted, undogmatic”, which is exactly the meaning I was hoping to inspire.

I guess my karma ran over their dogma. [Polite pause while the humor of that statement sinks in.]

1 comment

  1. That appears as the second definition for the adjective. The first relates to being an Agnostic. So yes, you are correct, but you’re bound to confuse many people who don’t go and consult the dictionary about it.

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