Fillers When I use a word…


BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 27 June 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1991
  1. Jeff Aronson, clinical pharmacologist
  1. Oxford

    The editor thinks that the word “fillers” somewhat demeans these short pieces that sit at the bottoms of pages occupying what would otherwise be empty spaces. They used to be given the generic heading “Materia non Medica,” but Latin, he says, puts people off, and in any case the materia that they contain is often very medica indeed. So what to call them?

    Well, the Greek word for a filler was πληρµα (pleroma), a word that was later used by the Gnostics to mean the divine being; so, a good word, but not a familiar one, and the ban on bald Latin militates against unmodified Greek.

    Now journalists have a word for material that they keep in a box to use …

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