Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/78

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A Desk-Book of

deface, disfigure: Discriminate between these words. Persons deface things, for to deface implies a deliberate act of destruction; but disfiguration may take place to person or thing by the operation of either. Thus, an inscription or bond is defaced, but facial beauty is disfigured by smallpox or the weight of care.

delicious, delightful: These terms should be used with discrimination. Delicious is correctly applied to pleasures of the senses; delightful to that which charms, gratifies, or gives pleasure. A dish may be delicious, but not delightful; an entertainment may be delightful, but is certainly not delicious.

delusion, illusion: Discriminate carefully between these terms. A delusion is a mental error arising from false views or an unbalanced state of mind; an illusion is an unreal image which is presented to the senses. A mirage is an optical illusion.

demean signifies "to behave" and does not mean debase or degrade. A man demeans (i. e., comports) himself as a gentleman; but even if he should demean himself as a churl, the verb would not imply a lowering of his dignity or debasement; his debasement would result alone from the conduct he pursued.

denominate. Compare nominate.

depositary, depository: Discriminated in the best usage, depositary denoting a person with whom, and