Humpty Dumptyism

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From the fictional character Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Caroll's Through the Looking-Glass, who, when asked what he meant by "glory", replies "I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'". Alice protests that this isn't the meaning of "glory" and Humpty Dumpty replies "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."


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Humpty Dumptyism (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) The practice of insisting that a word means whatever one wishes it to.
    • 2003, J. A. Keats, Norman Cliff, Ordinal Measurement in the Behavioral Sciences, page 31:
      "It seems to be saying one or both of two things. One is that any score that comes out of any procedure that purports to measure intelligence is a value of the scale, intelligence. If so, this would be Humpty Dumptyism."