Word Abuse: OVERLOOK


The words look and see are English inventions with essentially the same function, though there may be more guilt involved in actively “looking” (lìta in Icelandic, hibít in Hebrew and olhar in Portuguese) than in innocently “seeing” something! (sehn in Yiddish, video in Latin and شاف/shaf in Moroccan Arabic)

These overseas words in pink are useful to know because nobody is certain of from where English came.   Perhaps south-east Germany?   We all remember the Ancient Bavarian invasions of old, so even their words could be relevant.

The ILL LOGIC begins when we prefix “look” and “see” with the word “over” (or, in German,
über, or in Slovene, nad, or... oh who cares?).   OVERSEEing something is not the same as OVERLOOKing it.  This is confusing because mathematically they SHOULD be the same.

Things easily descend into chaos when you ask a PEF colleague to “look over” something and he “overlooks” it by mistake.    And when people start saying oversight to describe “something which was overlooked”, one would need to be an A-Level graduate to understand it!

Thankfully, the Queen’s English Society were on hand to make the following decision:

OVERSIGHT comes from American and is therefore to be rejected
OVERLOOK, however, isn’t  [1][2]

Oh, damn and blast!    Although we support any attempt to ban Americans from expanding their vocabulary, which is different than mine and thus worse, this QES ruling was totally unsatisfactory.   They used the modern-day German words über und sehen (over and see) to try to prove the logical unity of all white Germanic peoples in a single empire – even though the rot set in hundreds of years ago when we allowed overlook!!

The QES fail to take the logical next step; that is, denouncing this tyrannical, good-for-nothing word.    Just because everybody says a particular word, this does not make it right.    If everybody defecated onto the floor, would that be right?   Of course not.    That proves our argument.

The reason why OVERLOOK is exactly the same as a turd on your carpet is that it contradicts other words and makes no sense to people who have just landed in Britain and know no English, at whom this website is chiefly aimed.    “Chiefly”, for example, has nothing to do with Red Indians and must therefore be deleted from dictionaries.   (See our excellent article on illogical words.)

Conclusion
Both of our organisations’ arguments run into a slight omission when one learns that German does contain the verb übersehen, meaning overlook, and the derived noun ein Übersehen: an omission or oversight.   German uses different words to discuss supervision and overseeing things.

[Blank expression] ... So, regardless of all of the above, I think we have made plain with this document that the words OVERLOOK and OVERSIGHT ought not to exist, because we do not understand them.   If oversight had not had two meanings, the QES might have been prevented from attempting a very earnest ‘joke(?)’ about how the oversight panel caused the financial crisis.  Now it is too late.

Do not say “overlook”; say “miss”.

However, we would then be forced to replace the word “Miss” with “Ms”.   What a headache!   Being a language dictator is hard work.

The Ancient Bavarians are invading!
They must be stopped.
[pd]

 

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