“I don’t want anyone to disabuse themselves of the seriousness of this information [[al Qaeda stuff]] simply because there are some reports that much of it is dated – it might be two or three years old.”
DISABUSE transitive verb. To free from abuse, error, mistake, falsehood or misconception; to free (a person) from fallacy or deception or error; to set free from mistakes (as in reasoning or judgment); undeceive, set right. [American Heritage Dictionary, Random House and Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged (M-W)
<“I must disabuse you of your feelings of grandeur.”> American Heritage Dictionary
<“Disabused us of the old belief that the universe revolved about the home of man”— P. E. More> (M-W)
<”He couldn't however disabuse his mind of the idea.” —F. M. Ford> (M-W)
Something, it seems to me, is not kosher in the Ridge statement. ‘To disabuse oneself of the seriousness of this information would then mean, according to the above definitions, to free oneself of the misconception of the seriousness of this information. Isn’t this saying just the opposite of what he obviously is trying to convey? Doesn’t this say that ‘the seriousness of the information’ is a misconception that you want to free yourself from? If you look at he second M-W quote above and follow the same pattern you get “Disabused (us) of old belief (a falsehood) —> “Disabuse (themselves) of the seriousness of the information (a falsehood)”
Am I wrong, or does did Tom Ridge actually say the opposite of what he meant to say?
Ken G – August 3, 2004