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It denotes a pedantic, exhaustive, point-by-point refutation of someone's political position and it was named for a British news-correspondent who employs it; what one-syllable neologistic eponym is it?

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Answer: fisk

A point-by-point refutation of a blog entry or a news story is a fisk; the act of doing this is called fisking.

The term derives from the name of Robert Fisk, the Middle Eastern correspondent for The Independent newspaper in London.

For further info about fisk, see

For examples of fisking, see:

Noam Chomsky is the real master of this form - see Personally, I'd rather be fisked than chomsked.


This was fascinating! I had no clue! I plan to follow up some of the recommended web-sites. I'm glad there's a word for what I am forced to do with Dubya and his cohorts every day!
james.t.wood at

Using the term fisking is too much an honour for such a biased person. I'd rather use that term for unconditionally biased antisemitic journalists or politicians who seek the source of evil in Judaism in connection with any international event of a negative nature.

[Mootguy: If you work at it, perhaps you can add that connotation to the term.]
serveks at

I wanted to raise a question about the use of "eponym" in this week's question. According to 2 online dictionaries, eponym refers to the person for whom something is named, not the new word itself. I.e. Romulus is the eponym of Rome.

Your question was about the new word, not about Fisk's name, even though, in this case the proper noun and the new verb are spelled the same.

I guess my point is that the neologism is not the eponym. At least not according to the dictionaries that I read.

[Mootguy: According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, an eponym is (1) a word derived from a person's name and (2) a person who has had a word derived from his/her name. It seems that the on-line and off-line world's are in disagreement - which do you trust?]
dougclind at

This is incorrect. A cursory googling will reveal that this technique is not named after Fisk because he employs it, but because it is employed against him by his (numerous) enemies in the right-wing blogosphere. It's also not a particularly new technique - the quoting style of newsreader software made it a common 'debating' tactic on USENET for many years.
altcom at &

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