Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/45

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Errors in English

bare in the sense of uncover must be differentiated from its homonym bear, to suffer or endure.

base, bass: Discriminate carefully between these terms. Base means the bottom or support of anything, that part on which it rests; also, that which is low. Base is sometimes used in the sense of found; as, "he based his argument on the evidence." In chemistry it is a compound which unites with acid to form a salt. Bass is the name of various sea-fishes; also the name of a tree and of things made from its fiber. In music the bass consists of the lowest tones in the scale, instrumental or vocal.

bat: Formerly a provincialism but now a vulgarism for "wink." Do not say "Quit batting your eyes at me;" say rather, that is, if you must say anything of the kind, "Stop winking at me."

bathos and pathos are sometimes separated by only a fine line, and it may be rather a matter of intelligence than of philology that fails to make use of the desirable term. Pathos is from the Greek pascho, suffer, and designates the quality that awakens the tender emotions, as compassion or sympathy; bathos is from the Greek bathys, deep, and signifies a ridiculous descent from the lofty to the depths of commonplace.

battalion: In this word the "t" is always doubled, as in battle, from which it is derived; it is, however, correctly spelled with only one "l."