George Orwell warned us against needless deployment of foreign words or phrases. In his list of rules, Orwell advised, “(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.”

Is there ever good reason to use  “vis-à-vis,” or is “a vis-à-vis” a place-holder for a relationship we cannot define or sketch?

The use of “vis-à-vis” that I here question embellishes “in relation to” or “compared with,” I suppose.  When might “in relation to” or “compared with” not suffice and “vis-à-vis” improve on either?  I can think of none.

Is “vis-à-vis” an example of the pretentiousness or preening that Mr. Orwell scored?  Is this hyphenated French hi(gh)falutin?  Shall we all agree to lose the phrase or term?


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