My New York Times Word of the Day: Obdurate

Headed to my dictionary today to look up “obdurate” used in a direct quote from Liz Diller, the poor architect who had to defend demolishing the American Folk Art Museum building before a crowd of 650 people, many of them architects. See Architect Defends Plan To Demolish Museum According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, obdurate is an adjective that means 1. not easily moved to pity or sympathy; hardhearted; 2. hardened and unrepenting; impenitent; 3. not giving in readily; stubborn; obstinate; inflexible. To me, I don’t think she used it correctly. Here’s the sentence: “It’s a damn shame that the building is obdurate.” Hmmm. Can a building be stubborn, inflexible, not easily moved to pity or sympathy? I don’t think so. Perhaps, the word has its own meaning among architects, but I am not clear what she means here. With any luck, this word can now become part of my vocabulary, so thank you Ms. Diller. What do you think?


About msvoss

Melinda Voss, MPH, APR, is a freelance writer, editor and public relations specialist. A staff writer for The Des Moines Register and Tribune for nearly 26 years, she has won regional and national awards and taught undergraduate and graduate journalism courses at three universities. In 1999, she earned a master's degree in public health from the University of Minnesota after co-founding the Association of Health Care Journalists in 1997. Voss initially served as the association's unpaid coordinator, then became the executive director from 1999 to 2004. She then became the public relations director for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and served in that position until November 2012. She earned her APR, an accreditation in public relations, in 2011.
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