Tongue-tied

August 21, 2008

Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Mitch Roob searches his vocabulary for just the right word and almost finds it:

A  new rule, which still must cross several hurdles before being adopted, would require food stamp applicants to submit documents within 30 days — instead of 60 — or risk having to start the application process all over again, Roob said.

“I’m not convinced this is in the best interests of recipients,” Roob said. “We have been pressured by the federal government to move to a pure 30-day standard. We have been reticent to do that.”

Obviously, he meant “reluctant.” Was his use of “reticent” (inclined to be silent or uncommunicative in speech) a simple mistake or, as some who’ve had to deal with FSSA might say, a Freudian slip? I’m reticent to say.

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3 Responses to “Tongue-tied”

  1. Harl Delos Says:

    The dictionary.com Unabridged (based on Random House Unabridged) definition #2 for reticent is “reluctant or restrained”.

    The American Heritage dictionary definition #3 is “Reluctant; unwilling”

    I don’t think he was making a simple mistake OR a Freudian mistake. It’s just that he has a bigger dic than you have….

  2. Leo Morris Says:

    Reticence is but one form of reluctance. Roob was speaking of a reluctance to ACT on something, which most grammarians would consider improper. We usually say we are reticent (reluctant) to SAY something, hence my obviously poor attempt at humor.

  3. Bob G. Says:

    He does spell it ROOB, right?
    And not “Rube”?

    …Just checking.

    😉

    B.G.
    (still reluctantly reticent after all these years…NOT)


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