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Vitiate

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(pronounced vish-ee-ayt)  verb

Definition

1. to make faulty, defective, or imperfect; to spoil or impair the quality of; diminish in value or effectiveness. 2. to weaken or corrupt morally; debase; pervert. 3. to make legally invalid or ineffective; invalidate.

Main Example

  • Last month, one of Sen. Bob Corker’s statements during a spot interview on national TV that must have really gotten Donald Trump’s goat was when the former accused the president of vitiating this nation. Corker’s exact words: “...For young people to be watching, not only here in our country, but around the world, someone of this mentality as president of the United States is something that is I think debasing to our country.”

Workplace Examples

  • Each time a top athlete admits to taking performance enhancing drugs, I think about the negative impact that will have on the moral compass of American youth. You know, some of these great athletes--people like A-Rod--have been heroes to our nation’s youngsters; in my opinion, they are guilty of vitiating the ideal of sportsmanship and fair play.
  • My organization has been cut to the bone, and I’m afraid any further cuts will seriously impair and vitiate our performance in the field. And you know what that means: bad word of mouth and loss of market share.

Other Examples

  • in his seminar “Diminishers,” this author discussing a broad range of verbal and nonverbal “blunders” that are commonly made, often unwittingly, even by the most highly trained professionals, and which vitiate the impact of a presentation
    [Do you know of an upcoming conference, convention, or other event where one of V.J.’s many seminar topics could be a good fit? If so, please let him know by calling 281-463-2500 or emailing vjsingal@verbalenergy.com. Revenues from his seminars help fund the research and production of “Words of the Month.”]
  • a manager saying ruefully to a friend from another division in the company: “You are right, I am very gloomy today. Last week, I removed two of my team members--Sharon and Bob--from the IBM project because of their poor performance. Well, guess what? The vice president just vitiated my authority by overruling my decision and putting them back where they were. I feel terrible.”
  • the need to be absolutely truthful while filling out an insurance application because any subsequent evidence of your having stated a falsehood could vitiate any future claims; an exec’s judgement on a particular issue vitiated by bias or prejudice
  • a new law to limit construction in coastal areas that are prone to regular and heavy flooding vitiated by the loopholes inserted at the last minute by lawmakers beholden to developers
  • a citizen of the extremely poor nation of Bangladesh lamenting: “Even though we are constantly investing in infrastructure improvement projects, by the time each one is completed, its effect has been largely vitiated by the galloping rate of population growth. It’s like two steps forward, 1.9 steps back.”

© 2016 V.J. Singal
No part of this may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the author.


This Month's Other Words

bravura
vitiate
impetuous
tawdry
voluble
atavistic


   
   


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