[Milton-L] Nude or Naked?

Hannibal Hamlin hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
Wed Jul 27 18:25:12 EDT 2011

Fair enough, but, to qualify, I think the shades of meaning that art
historians have tried to load on "naked" and "nude" aren't really tenable,
most importantly because the implied distinction doesn't hold up, as this
thread has been discovering.


(Parenthetically, what is the precise nature of a synonym? An intriguing
question. Presumably there must be some overlap between synonyms with
different ranges of usage, and words whose meanings sometimes overlap but
not so much that they are synonyms. No doubt someone's explored this

On Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 4:51 PM, Daniel W. Doerksen <dwd at unb.ca> wrote:

>  Hannibal refers to "a false distinction between actual synonyms." This
> might be taken to imply that synonyms are identical in meaning. However, the
> richness of the English language comes in part from the fact that words
> classed as synonyms in the dictionary regularly have various shades of
> difference. "Nude" and "naked" are synonyms but have almost necessarily
> picked up differences of meaning from the way in which they are used.
> Wouldn't the language be impoverished if the two words were simply
> identical?
> Dan Doerksen
> At 02:32 PM 7/25/2011, you wrote, in part:
> I think "nude" and "naked" are words that originally meant exactly the same
> thing (indeed the OED suggests they share the same Indo-european root) but
> which have been appropriated as terms of art by art historians post Kenneth
> Clark. Like others in this discussion, I'm skeptical about the distinction.
> My skepticism begins with the use of the words themselves, in other words
> with what seems a false distinction between actual synonyms.
> Daniel W. Doerksen
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Hannibal Hamlin
Associate Professor of English
Editor, *Reformation*
Co-curator, *Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King
James Bible*
The Ohio State University
164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall
Columbus, OH 43210-1340
hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
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