In chronicling WikiLeaks' involvement in the unfolding Edward J. Snowden affair, Scott Shane, who is the national security reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times, made use of the word bedevil in "Offering Snowden Aid, WikiLeaks Gets Back in the Game":
WikiLeaks once again seized the global spotlight on Sunday by assisting Edward J. Snowden in his daring flight from Hong Kong, mounting a bold defense of the culture of national security disclosures that it has championed and that has bedeviled the United States and other governments.
Bedevil, which here means "to confuse or torment," dates from the 18th century, when the idea that the devil fouled up our lives on a day-to-day, operational basis was a commonly held belief. Although the devil as culprit has been removed from our current understanding of bedevil, its meaning has not managed to assign blame elsewhere — making the word useful in its silence as to the source of the trouble it refers to. When you miss an early morning flight, isn't "bedeviled by circumstance" easier to admit to than sleeping through your alarm and spacing out in the shower?
- Rate this article:
- Article topics: