Disbenefit

In some recent copy I came across the word 'disbenefit' for the first time. It sounded strange to me - my first instinct was to replace it with 'disadvantage' - but the OED had no problem with it, and Googling it displayed tens of thousands of results, so I let it stand.

Admittedly, as an exclusively British English word, 'disbenefit' may also sound strange to American ears, but that gives an Englishman such as myself no excuse.

My discovery of 'disbenefit' has made me wonder how I could go for so long without coming across such a relatively common word - and consequently, what other common words I am unaware of. Has anybody else had a similar experience?

3 comments:

Sarah said...

We had one in our office today, "Eventuate". I don't know how common it is. Nobody in our office had heard it before (and they are mostly librarians, so you'd think they might) It's recognised on the OED though.

JD said...

'Eventuate' isn't a word I would use in everyday conversation! The OED lists it as 'formal' and I don't recall seeing it used outside of academic papers; I would prefer to use 'result' over 'eventuate in' in almost every context. It's not one of my favourite words...

Anonymous said...

'Eventuates' is more common than 'eventuate'. Eg. "We'll see what eventuates from this." Coming across words that are apparently common is disconcerting but I don't think disbenefit falls into that category. I only just came across it today which is how I found your post. Personally, I think it is a ridiculous word used specifically to avoid saying 'loss' or 'cost' or other things that sound negative but might fit the context better. Alternatively, it is merely the absence of a benefit which is not a compelling reason to change legislation (the paper in which I discovered it was arguing for a change) but to say that someone will suffer a disbenefit if you do nothing does sound rather more impressive and urgent!

Don't feel bad about it though. I read all the time and only just came across it so it's hardly in common usage (at least in Australia).

Cheers.