rare use of 'vessel' and possible synonyms?

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teacup2

Senior Member
Finnish
Hello!

I was wondering whether there were a better word to use than "vessel" in the sentence (picked out from an academic thesis):
"The criticism of X.X that served as the vessel to begin the process of purges in the top leadership only became public five years later."

I found a definition of 'vessel' in the dictionary stating that it is a rare use of the term, but it can mean "
a person regarded as an agent or vehicle for some purpose".
In my example-sentence, however, vessel refers to 'criticism of' a person rather than the person himself. And even if it were to refer to the person, it is such a strange term that I'm probably not the only reader stopping at this point to wonder.

Do you have any synonym to suggest?

Many thanks to all,
Elinor
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I wonder whether 'vehicle' would work: served as the vehicle for ....

    On the other hand, you can use Fabulist's suggestions without changing the syntax of the sentence.
     
    Last edited:

    teacup2

    Senior Member
    Finnish
    Do you think the use of 'vessel' in the context could be justified, though? I mean does it sound wrong to you?
     
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