My abridged edition of Sam Johnson’s Dictionary, published in 1755 as one of the earliest efforts to compile a comprehensive English dictionary, does not list “Diplomacy”.
“Diploma” appears where Diplomacy might have perched, on the page that starts with “didder” — to quake with cold; to shiver; a provincial word. — and ends with “disadventurous” — unhappy; unprosperous. “Diploma,” Samuel Johnson states, is a letter or writing conferring come privilege, so called because they used formerly to be written on waxed tables, and folded together.
No word for “blog” either, but “to blabber” means whistle to a horse. Try blabbering for a taxi on a crowded wet urban street.
Hachette explains that “diplomacy” means “diplomatie” a feminine noun in French, where the codified practice of acting diplomatically is said to have originated. One suspects diplomacy long predates European recorded history.
E-anything has come to mean an activity in an electronic environment, but “electronic” seems an antiquated word for the digital environment.
Do we communicate in an E space, if E stands for ether, everything, existential, ephemeral, esoteric, eternal, entropy, expanding, energy, endemic?
Where does the practice of “diplomacy” – defined by Penguin English Dictionary as the management of international relations; tactful skill in dealing with other people – mesh with etiquette and ethics in everyday life?
Freeman Dyson reflects on the eternity of digital worlds in the Page-Barbour Lectures given at the University of Virginia in March, 2004. Thomas Page was a diplomat and writer and the lectures were originally funded in 1907 by Thomas Page’s spouse, a Barbour family member.
Dyson, Freeman J. A Many-Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe. Charlottesville:Univ of Virginia Press, 2007.
Corréard, Marie-Hélène and Valerie Grundy. The Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary. New York: Oxford Univ Press, 1994.
Garmonsway, G.N with Jacqueline Simpson. The Penguin English Dictionary. Middlesex: Penguin Books Ltd. 1965.
McAdam, E. L. Jr. and George Milne. Johnson’s Dictionary A Modern Selection. New York: Pantheon Books. 1963