Mighty Red Pen

Stigma versus stigmatism

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Overheard on the radio today was Amy Lee of gloom-rock band Evanescence talking about why people should support Out of the Shadows, an organization that raises awareness about epilepsy.

One of the organization’s goals, she said, is education so “kids don’t have a stigmatism” about people with epilepsy.

The word she wanted was actually stigma. This is a “mark of disgrace or infamy,” as poetically phrased on dictionary.com. The plural of this is stigmata, which seems especially appropriate as we approach Good Friday.

Stigmatism, on the other hand, has to do with lenses and the refraction of light. As a person with astigmatism of the left eye, MRP was interested to find out that one definition of stigmatism is, simply, “normal eyesight.”

And who says you can’t teach an old MRP new words?

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