101 Words I Don't Use

Copyright ©1996 by Paul Niquette  All rights reserved.

quasi adv.  To some degree; almost or somewhat.  Used in combination: quasi-scientific.  adj. Resembling but not being (the thing in question). Used in combination: a quasi-victory. 

In Latin quasi was employed in exactly the same way that we would use the words "as if."
-- Updated  from A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi by Chloe Rhodes, 2010
If a half-moon is called a semi-circle, an oval might be called a quasi-circle.
  • "Semi" means mostly "partly."
  • "Quasi" means sort of "sort of."
The two terms are not interchangeable.
  • Semi-annual makes sense.
  • Quasi-annual, to my ear, does not.
Same with semi-nude versus quasi-nude -- to my eye, in that case.  (Come on now, one might remove half one's clothes to become the former, but what garment does one put on to achieve the latter?)

A woman aspiring to motherhood, I suppose, might be described as quasi-pregnant, but not by me.  As semi-pregnant, by no one.

For "quasi-scientific," isn't "unscientific" more to the point?  Try these...

  • a quasi-executive works in the mailroom;
  • a quasi-doctor wears feathers and body paint;
  • a quasi-lawyer is his own client.
We are all quasi-economists.

Some writers and speakers write and speak "quasi" when, often as not, "semi" is what they really mean.  I have decided not to do that.

Maybe what they really are are quasi-writers and quasi-speakers.  Maybe that's what I am.


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