In a Word

adj. winding, sinuous, involved

n. the manner, way, or means

v. to entreat earnestly

adj. plain-speaking

In a 1993 New York Times article lamenting the obscurity of scholarly writing, University of Colorado history professor Patricia Nelson Limerick cited this passage from Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind as an example of indecipherable prose:

If openness means to ‘go with the flow,’ it is necessarily an accommodation to the present. That present is so closed to doubt about so many things impeding the progress of its principles that unqualified openness to it would mean forgetting the despised alternatives to it, knowledge of which makes us aware of what is doubtful in it.

She wrote, “Is there a reader so full of blind courage as to claim to know what this sentence means?”