The nouns: reveal vs. revelation / fail vs. failure / ask vs. request or question

Discuss word origins and meanings.
Post Reply

The nouns: reveal vs. revelation / fail vs. failure / ask vs. request or question

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:27 pm

aaa
<2014 “The results support a concept known as inflationary Big Bang theory, and they can be further analyzed to reconstruct how the Big Bang blew up 13.8 billion years ago. Even in advance of Monday's public reveal, physicists were gushing over the implications.”—NBC News, 17 March>
Oy Vey! Nouning seems to elicit a knee jerk negative reaction in me, but I suppose it shouldn't. The times they are achangin' and always have been and different doesn't necessarily mean bad, although I reserve the right to find the nouning of verbs irritating – humbug! #@*%^

RANDOM HOUSE WEBSTER’S UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY

REVEAL noun: An act or instance of revealing; revelation; disclosure.
______________________

So who needs reveal when we’ve got ‘revelation’? But I suppose one can’t have too many synonyms and this one might make for a catchy topic in a PowerPoint marketing presentation on effective sales strategies – ‘The Reveal’ (>:)

Random House didn’t provide any background on the word, but old faithful did:

OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY

REVEAL noun [from the verb]

1) [1596] An act of revealing something; a revelation; a disclosure; an unveiling . rare after 17th century.

2) [1952] Broadcasting and Advertising. A final revelation of something previously kept from an audience, a participant in a programme, etc. Frequently with the.
____________________

Aha! Hawkers – I knew it. So, at the end of the day, your takeaway should be an appreciation of the importance of a good reveal.

The following quotes are from the Oxford English Dictionary and archived sources:
<1952 “This is the process we call ‘the reveal’—the point, toward the end of each candid portrait, where we reveal to the subject what we've been doing.”—Eavesdropper at Large by A. Funt, iii. page 41> [[Some of us may remember Allen Funt as being the creator and host of the TV show Candid Camera (see 1975 quote below)]]

<1975 “But now the final coup, Allen's trademark—the ‘reveal.’ ‘Madame, did you know that at this moment you are on nationwide TV?’”—New York Times, 21 March, page 52/3>

<1991 “Is this for a theme park? A pub? A cocktail? A club? Search me. It's obviously a teaser campaign and the reveal's been lost in the post.”—Campaign, 16 August, page 17>

<2005 “After a barrage of commercials, we are presented with what the show describes as ‘the reveal,’ the first view of her face.”—Class-Passing by G. A. Foster, vi. page 113>

<2008 “Reveal, the verb, gets nouned as ‘the reveal,’ auto industry parlance for the annual unveiling of new car models in Detroit.”—Christian Science Monitor, 22 February>

<2011 “Disney hopes its ‘When are you going to tell them’ multimedia campaign, which features children's reactions after being informed of a Disney visit, will encourage parents to make the ‘reveal’ part of the overall experience.”—Marketing Week, 10 February>

<2014 “Nevertheless, on certain conditions, such as writing down business information or inputting personal account number and password into an ATM machine, the characteristics of wide viewing angles of the display apparatus may cause the reveal of users' personal information.”—Politics & Government Week, 6 March>
______________________

Ken G – March 18, 2014
Post actions:

Re: reveal (the noun)

Post by trolley » Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:10 am

My daughter: "Oh Dad. That's an epic fail."
Me: "Why can't you kids use 'failure'?"
My daughter: "That's a good ask. Maybe you should Google it."
Post actions:

Re: reveal (the noun)

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:01 am

Ken Greenwald wrote:So who needs reveal when we’ve got ‘revelation’?
In my observation, those terms are only partially synonymous (as your citations rather suggest).

Revelation usually refers to the disclosure of some hitherto-concealed or unsuspected fact:
"The uncovering of Dad's secret second and third families was a revelation that completely stunned us".
Reveal, on the other hand, tends to be confined to the planned unveiling of some special object or event, such as when a wedding-dress designer shows the completed ensemble to the bride-to-be for the first time, or when the occupants of a home are first shown the results of a substantial remodelling project (such as those depicted on makeover shows like ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or TLC's Trading Spaces):
"With only 24 hours to go before the big reveal, the crew still has a huge amount of work to do". (How the 'big reveal' beloved of the hosts of such shows might differ in practice from a pedestrianly unmodified 'reveal' must remain a matter for the public to conjecture.)
In short, revelation is normally used for more abstract disclosures or unveilings, reveal for more concrete ones.

The distinction between the recently-coined noun fail versus failure also seems to involve some kind of spectator participation. One can experience all kinds of failure (relationship, career, moral, mechanical etc.); but as far as I can discern, achieving the status of a fail generally also requires an audience, especially if that audience is equipped with a camera which enables the situation to be recorded and uploaded to the Web for the memetic entertainment of the wider wired hoi polloi and nitwitterati.

Another failworthy element is present if the mishap is directly attributable to some sort of miscalculation, lapse of judgment or hubristic self-indulgence on the part of the failure's main protagonist.

For instance, if the wheel falls off your car because of metal fatigue that resulted from a manufacturing defect in the trailing arm, that would be classed as a mechanical failure. But if, while you were putting the spare wheel on, you had carelessly misplaced three of the four bolts designed to keep the wheel attached, and you had therefore decided to substitute toothpicks and duct tape for the missing bolts -- thereby pretty much guaranteeing that the wheel would fall off once your 'repairs' had worked loose -- that would be regarded as an obvious fail. The more spectacular the resulting catastrophe, the more epic the fail.

(Incidentally, this usage of epic seems similar to the hyperbolically phatic usage of amazing. For example:
The drunker the guests grew, the more absolutely amazing they agreed the pool party was. )

The recently-coined noun ask seems to combine the sense of a straightforward request with one of (frequently unrealistically) elevated hope and/or expectation. For example:
"Wanting your dad to give up his long weekend in Scotland fly-fishing just so you can go to the cinema with your boyfriend this Saturday seems like a pretty big ask to me".

"A pay raise of $40,000 a year? That's quite an ask for someone with your background!"
It therefore seems to me that Trolley's daughter is not using the noun ask in quite the right way. She may need a little guidance from a mature adult regarding the authentic argot of today's youngsterdom.
Post actions:
Signature: -- Looking up a word? Try OneLook's metadictionary (--> definitions) and reverse dictionary (--> terms based on your definitions)8-- Contribute favourite diary entries, quotations and more here8 -- Find new postings easily with Active Topics8-- Want to research a word? Get essential tips from experienced researcher Ken Greenwald

Re: The nouns: reveal vs. revelation / fail vs. failure / ask vs. request or question

Post by Ken Greenwald » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:39 pm

aaa
John, That was a beautiful father/daughter exchange. There’s nothing like having youngsters around to keep one on one’s linguistic toes.

Erik, I had missed the reveal/revelation distinction, which you so clearly laid out. Also, appreciated the fail/failure and ask/request discussions. Very nice.

Pardon the misusage but I can't resist:

Thanks for the clarify! (<:)
____________________

Ken – March 19, 2014
Post actions:

Re: The nouns: reveal vs. revelation / fail vs. failure / ask vs. request or question

Post by trolley » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:08 pm

Yes, and an epic clarify it was.
Post actions:

Re: The nouns: reveal vs. revelation / fail vs. failure / ask vs. request or question

Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:08 am

I now consider myself thoroughly thankified.
Post actions:

Re: reveal (the noun)

Post by Shelley » Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:23 pm

trolley wrote:My daughter: "Oh Dad. That's an epic fail."
Me: "Why can't you kids use 'failure'?"
My daughter: "That's a good ask. Maybe you should Google it."
Outright, prolonged snort, Trolley!
Post actions:

Re: The nouns: reveal vs. revelation / fail vs. failure / ask vs. request or question

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:24 am

Yes, a big thank to everyone who has made a contribute.
Post actions:

End of topic.
Post Reply