Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Quasi or Pseudo?

Explaining why I've been calling myself "quasi-retired" again, instead of "pseudo-retired", there's a subtle difference in these two words.

As an American my dictionary of choice is Merriam-Webster. For quasi, it says: "having some resemblance usually by possession of certain attributes". For pseudo, it says: "being apparently rather than actually as stated; sham; spurious".

It's really just a matter of degree. We could model this with fuzzy set theory. If I'm quasi-retired, that means I have possession of certain attributes normally associated with being actually retired. Chief of those is not having a job. Other commonalities are not actually looking for a job, not intending to look for a job for the indefinite future, and not financially needing a job for the indefinite future.

One attribute not shared (for me) is that of age. I'm under half the age of a typical retiree. I'm also not pulling any sort of government welfare, like other retirees. And while I'm not looking for a job, I haven't entirely ruled out the idea of going back to work, as many retirees typically do (if for no other reason than their age being an obstacle).

With "pseudo", the barrier is just "apparent", you don't have to actually share any certain attributes, just have the appearance of sharing them. If you do in actuality share important things and not just in appearance pseudo is probably the wrong word. But you may in actuality share less important sub-attributes, sure. Like a pseudo-friendly salesman is seemingly doing things friends do like smile at you, listen to you, whatever, but they have no core attributes shared with friendship. Or another example, you might have a night-shift job and are far from retirement, but because in your day to day you're basically free to do whatever you want from 9am-9pm, like retirees are able to, you have the semblance of being retired, and may indeed call yourself pseudo-retired.

From a fuzzy set/fuzzy logic perspective, pseudo leans more on the side of "fuzzy false" and quasi leans more on the side of "fuzzy true". Since it's all fuzzy, it's forgivable to use each word almost synonymously, which I think people are inclined to do (especially among programmers where "pseudo" is in far more common use), but there is distinction.

Another fun adjective that comes up is "crypto", which just means "secretly". If I wanted to avoid interacting with people after quitting my job I might be "crypto-retired" because I keep using my non-existent job as an excuse for being busy or whatever.

Posted on 2022-02-24 by Jach

Tags: personal, words


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