There has been a media storm over Sarah Palin’s “invention” of the word “refudiate” as an ersatz term for repudiate. In her own words, as reported today in The Huffington Post: {apparently she blamed the “typo” on her Blackberry…not inconceivable.}

“I pressed an F instead of a P and people freaked out,” said Sarah, pointing out that her blunder was the second-most-searched word on Google trends. “Make lemonade out of lemons,” said Sarah.

For a brief 23 second explanation, including an apparent mocking tone of the English language as a “moving, breathing, evolving art” {I do not believe anyone argues that it is evolving…”}:

But, oddly enough, I had my own “Palinism” moment recently in a post in which I carelessly used “aggreggious” instead of “egregious,” pointed out by an astute reader. Was this a mental slip, a conjugation of “aggression” and “egregious” to describe trolls on the internet, the topic of that particular post? Most likely, it was carelessness in my haste to post the article – bloggers need editors!

My mistake simply reminded me that to err is human and that anything posted on the world wild web is fair game for scrutiny, especially if one aspires for fame and political influence. I hope that “Palinism” is not an evolving viral strain, because I unwittingly became infected.


  1. #1 george.w
    December 28, 2010

    I wouldn’t worry unless you have to start writing simple concepts on your hand…

  2. #2 ohngo
    December 29, 2010

    Ah, it happens to the best of us…and this is not me aligning myself with your ‘spanned academia,’ by any means…more that I like the humility and sort of reactionary on-set of self-awareness that the Palin article caused.

    Also, I find it delightfully ironic that you fell victim to a troll as you were complaining about trolls, although I can’t say that I’m surprised; having nothing else to attack you for, you can see how such an oversight is what those jerks live for.

    If someone has a personal issue to take with me, or any of my choices–or if they have anything they think is worth saying to me, then I don’t care if they have to spell it out to me with elbow macaroni and a glue stick–Hell, I’d get down and help them if that were the case, especially if they could prove me wrong.

    Jesus H.

    Communication comes in many forms, and what matters most, is not the means by which we communicate, it’s the message that we wish to convey.

    While I don’t think Sarah Palin is nearly as stupid as she lets on, (the kind of stupid that we pay her for)–And I am not, by any means coming to her defense, but political/social views aside, what I propose we all consider is (a) how sad it is that a typo from an over-paid stranger is worthy of discussion, let alone a national audience, and (b) isn’t there enough to make fun of her for? Is it so hard to take the high road, every now and then?

    I can’t be bothered to announce anyone’s clerical errors as they appear in social media, blogs, or any other casually published online forum…mostly because, while I may not be above using a word incorrectly and recklessly abusing punctuational devices; I do like to think that I am above gaining satisfaction for something so trivial that it could be plucked from a 4th-grade, Word Power study guide.

    It is classless and dismissive; and further, it is thunder-stealing its lowest form.

    “He who throws the first punch, is the first to admit his ideas have run out”…It’s same with jabs at grammar, race, and everything else that bullies, bully over.

    Happy New Year 🙂

  3. #3 IanW
    December 29, 2010

    It’s easy to see how Palin did that, because the ‘F’ key is right next to the ‘P’ key on my… er… no it isn’t!

    If she’d typed ‘repufiate’ she might get away with that over-cooked excuse. Why is it so hard for her to simply admit she made a mistake as you’ve done right here? And what does it say about her mettle as a presidential wannabe, if she can’t admit to a simple mistake like this?

  4. #4 Jeff
    December 29, 2010

    Excellent comment – thank you. I was acknowledging an error identified by a reader – I have no idea if s/he is a “troll” or not as it is irrelevant. If a reader finds an error of spelling, punctuation or one of fact, I want to know. If they are correct, I will make the change. It is the personal attacks that concern me.

  5. #5 Badger3k
    December 29, 2010

    Unfortunately, her excuse doesn’t hold water, as she used the word on live tv before she “mistyped” it. See –

  6. #6 Ken
    December 29, 2010

    Your egregious use of the “g” key may have ended your presidential campaign right here. Or, perhaps, intelligent people will allow you the occasional written blunder as long as you don’t babble inanities whenever you speak.

    OK, you’ve convinced me. You still have my vote.

  7. #7 ohngo
    December 29, 2010

    re: personal attacks. Agreed.

    I guess it was more the delivery that I found jarring. Which makes sense, considering the only people who read my site are friends and family, and they are at least courteous enough to alert me of any error via email or text so they may berate me for my shortcomings in private, which I’m thankful for, and motivates me to extend the same courtesy to them, and anyone else whose writing I enjoy, for that matter.

    Similar to when your zipper is down? Rather than announce it…well, you get it.

    As regards to error of fact: public humiliation is fair game and comes with the territory…which is exactly why I stick to opinion:)

    Everything said, I refuse to watch, let alone research any instances of Sarah Palin being an idiot, past or present.

    I’d rather not even know about her.


  8. #8 Bill Davidson
    December 31, 2010

    I was strong Republican. But those lap
    dogs that surround Mrs. Palin are turning
    her into egomaniac. She is too light duty
    for president. I don’t think the new senator
    from Fla, of Cuban descent, would be making
    her ‘gaffs’.

  9. #9 grupenhoff
    January 2, 2011

    So.. invented new words, too!

  10. #10 darwinsdog
    January 2, 2011

    I think that The American People had better Man Up & Refudiate them Mama Grizzlies before they go Viral in Epic proportions. Otherwise, the Back Story may be that we *FAIL* to Live Life to its Fullest.. Just Sayin’..


  11. #11 John Sawyer
    January 5, 2011


    Are you responding to Snooze’s comment, “It’s “egregious, not “aggreggious” 🙂 ?

    I can’t find any other comment, appended to his article here on Science Blogs, correcting Dr. Toney’s interesting word, than Snooze’s, which I don’t see as some kind of troll-like response, and not just because it has a happy face emoticon. Is there some other comment somewhere that actually attacked Dr. Toney about this?

  12. #12 ohngo
    January 10, 2011

    ummm, yeah… that one kind of got away from me a little bit…

    Apologies to all. 😐

    In my defense, I honestly didn’t see the smiley face, I have had very little sleep in the past few weeks, and I am really sick of hearing about Sarah Palin.

    Oh, and I grew up in Cut N’Shoot, TX.

    Standing by for public stoning…or donations, depending on your view of irascible a-holes who may, or may not have been raised in a barn.


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