The win-win Oxymoron

About: online etymology dictionary

win (v.) Look up win at Dictionary.comfusion of O.E. winnan "struggle for, work at, strive, fight," and gewinnan "to gain or succeed by struggling, to win," both from P.Gmc. *wenwanan (cf. O.S. winnan, O.N. vinna, O.Fris. winna, Du. winnen "to gain, win," Dan. vinde "to win," O.H.G. winnan "to strive, struggle, fight," Ger. gewinnen "to gain, win," Goth. gawinnen "to suffer, toil"). Perhaps related to wish, or from PIE *van- "overcome, conquer." Sense of "to be victorious" is recorded from c.1300. The noun in O.E. meant "labor, strife, conflict;" modern sense of "a victory in a game or contest" is first attested 1862, from the verb. Breadwinner (see bread) preserves the sense of "toil" in O.E. winnan. Phrase you can't win them all (1954) first attested in Raymond Chandler.

Notice that even the word win has the notion of strife & conflict built into it.  Think of what you imagine winning to be & see if it doesn't imply that you win over something.  What would winning a  World Series or a football game mean in the context of win-win, eh? (a tie?). Anyway, IMHO, win-win is an oxymoron developed by New Age spinners of salesmanship, advertising & seminars.  I would love for it to disappear into the detritus of the past along with the word groovy.


Tags

  1. oxymorons
  2. win win
  3. spin
  4. advertising

Comments


Mark de LA says
If you think that everything has to be combat, perhaps you might read the book Principles of Effortless Power by Peter Ralston a martial arts & Zen master.



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