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"Ubiquitous" is Ubiquitous

It seems I find the word ubiquitous, derived from Latin, showing up more and more in my reading. A quick Google Ngram search confirms that the word has gained steam more broadly, especially in the last 30 years. Compare its usage to two similar words, prevalent and omnipresent (1800–2008):

This is one of many “academic” words with simpler, more common synonyms that would usually do. I will add ubiquitous to my list of words to avoid.

While I am sure many authors use this word sincerely, I am reminded of a line from Orwell’s “Politics and English Language” (1946) on Latin words:

The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details.  The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.


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