SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: The unbearable meretriciousness of the usual suspects.


In a post last Friday, an instance of word association occurred.

N & T’s Beilman with delightful devastation for Deaf Gahan: “New Albany Housing Authority leaders knowingly violated policy, HUD order, documents state.”

“In terms of integrity and principle, Mike Bainbridge has set a meritorious example that Gahan’s bootlicking sycophants probably won’t ever grasp.”

Meritorious conduct is praiseworthy and deserving of reward. In a subsequent comment, a regular blog reader was reminded of another “m” word, meretricious — one often confused with meritorious, though their respective definitions couldn’t be any more different.


[mer-i-trish-uh s]


1. alluring by a show of flashy or vulgar attractions; tawdry.
2. based on pretense, deception, or insincerity.
3. pertaining to or characteristic of a prostitute.

Origin of meretricious

Latin, 1620-30; < Latin meretrīcius of, pertaining to prostitutes, derivative of meretrīx prostitute, equivalent to mere-, stem of merēre to earn + -trīx -trix; see -ous

Related forms

meretriciously, adverb
meretriciousness, noun
unmeretricious, adjective
unmeretriciously, adverb
unmeretriciousness, noun


1. showy, gaudy.
2. spurious, sham, false.

As for usage in a sentence, it’s hard to beat this timeless example Women in Love, by from D. H. Lawrence.

“Now go away then, and leave me alone. I don’t want any more of your meretricious persiflage.”

Don’t worry. I wouldn’t leave you in the lurch.

persiflage (noun; pərsəˌfläZH): Light and slightly contemptuous mockery or banter.

Finally, a clarification: “Meretricious persiflage” is NOT a synonym for “Interim NAHA Director.”