to a suasion of bygone times

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Well, "to a suasion of bygone times" means "to a persuasion of bygone times."

The question here is why the author has chosen suasion, a rarely used word, rather than persuasion.

My guess is that when suasion is collocated with bygone times (together with "dusting off the strappado"), it would produce an effect of classical taste.

That is, it is stylistic in the form of expression.

Am I on the right track?

Thanks in advance

Imagine that a known terrorist has planted a large bomb in the heart of a nearby city. This man now sits in your custody. As to the bomb's location, he will say nothing except that the site was chosen to produce the maximum loss of life. Given this state of affairs—in particular, given that there is still time to prevent an imminent atrocity—it seems there would be no harm in dusting off the strappado and exposing this unpleasant fellow to a suasion of bygone times.

-Sam Harris' The End of Faith
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    a suasion - a [type of] persuasive force ('suasion' is a rarely used word.)

    to a suasion of bygone times.
    (euphemism) = torture.


    English - England
    it would produce an effect of classical taste.
    Such formality is often used to archly create a euphemism - the particular words are designed to distract the reader/listener from the reality of what is being suggested and move the discussion into the philosophical abstract.


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    An ill-used word in my opinion. A writer showing off at the expense of communicating.

    I recall a writer using "whelmed", which I assumed slotted between "underwhelmed" and "overwhelmed" but in fact means exactly the same thing as "overwhelmed". In that case the writer was showing off too, but drove me to the dictionary anyhow. Annoying.

    I would avoid "suasion" for the simple reason that it will annoy.
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