Posted Wednesday, 1 September at 1:04 pm in People
These days, the first thing that tips one off to the potentially bogus nature of a word is seeing one of those red squiggly lines appear under it on a computer screen.
Now, sure, there are situations in which the bogusness resides with the author rather than with the word itself, but either way that red squiggly line serves as a warning. ‘Wrong way’, it says. ‘Go Back’. And finally, exasperatedly, ‘Do I need to spell this out?’
‘Embeddedness’ is a red-squiggly-line word. My version of Microsoft Word takes exception to ‘embeddedness’; I’m telling you, it is underlining the word’s dubiousness as we speak.
My personal view? Microsoft Word has a point. I’m not too sure about ‘embeddedness’. I have my doubts about its bona fides. To be frank, it seems like a word that might have stolen its way into the lexicon under cover of darkness, with the help of a dodgy passport and a comically obvious false moustache. Perhaps it passed itself off as ‘embedded’ and smuggled the last few letters in by hiding them in the lining of its suitcase? The point is: I just don’t believe it. It’s a noun-event, if you ask me.
And yet ‘embeddedness’ is, er, embedded – at least in certain circles. According to Wikipedia, it refers to ‘the degree to which individuals or firms are enmeshed in a social network’. Meanwhile, ‘job embeddedness’ apparently describes ‘all the factors enmeshing employees in their jobs’. (Think John Travolta in any straight-to-DVD movie.)
So embeddedness is really all about enmeshment, it seems. And while I am not questioning the credentials of the word ‘enmeshment’, I must admit that I half-expected it to generate a red squiggly line.