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I am trying to nudge them towards a practical solution.

What does nudge imply here? Can't we just use something like push? Is the word outdated or still in use?

I'm not trying to avoid using nudge as such, just don't know if it is a suitable word to use in an academic context.

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Does your dictionary just list them as the same? –  Jon Hanna Jan 18 '13 at 18:45
    
Nope, but i don't know if it is proper to use this word or not? That's why we ask questions. –  Benyamin Hamidekhoo Jan 18 '13 at 19:17
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Welcome to EL&U. As it stands, this question is incomplete. Please edit the question to show your research; it will also be helpful to provide context to the question, such as why you want to avoid saying "nudge". –  MετάEd Jan 18 '13 at 19:37
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closed as not a real question by Jon Hanna, MετάEd, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, J.R., tchrist Jan 19 '13 at 0:16

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

In the context of nudge vs. push, "push" would be considered much more aggressive, violent or maybe just assertive.

a "nudge" is gentle

Example: If your spouse is snoring you can do the following:

"nudge" them, where, if you're lucky, they'll roll over without waking up, maybe stop snoring

or

you can "push" them out of the bed, they'll fall on the floor, wake up, stop snoring

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Thank you. Do you have any information about the etymology? Isn't it outdated? –  Benyamin Hamidekhoo Jan 18 '13 at 18:55
    
I did find etymology on etymonline.com. The word seems to date back to the 1600's, of dutch origin and may have a couple of different sources, throughout history, including relation to the word "nudnik". As far as being antiquated, I'd say not really - there's even an online dating site called "alittlenudge.com" :-) –  Kristina Lopez Jan 18 '13 at 19:00
    
If you have to use it in a academical context, would you suggest it? Or is there a better replacement? Btw, thanks for your kindness and time. –  Benyamin Hamidekhoo Jan 18 '13 at 19:03
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Give me a hug!:p –  Benyamin Hamidekhoo Jan 18 '13 at 19:28
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+1 purely for the evocative example! @Benyamin: I don't know why you would think nudge is "outdated". Unsurprisingly, it's not so common as push (the 697th most common word in the English language). But it's still a perfectly normal everyday word. –  FumbleFingers Jan 18 '13 at 22:19
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A nudge can be seen as a gentle push, and is often used figuratively, as in as in the book 'Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness'

The origin of nudge is uncertain, but there is, apparently, a Norwegian word nugge, meaning 'to push'.

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Awesome, thank you Barrie for that. Do you suggest using it or you have a better verb in mind? –  Benyamin Hamidekhoo Jan 18 '13 at 19:07
    
@Benyamin Hamidekhoo. Semantically related verbs, depending on context, are dig, jog, prod, shove, poke,prompt, influence, urge, persuade, spur and coax. No word is better or worse than any other in itself. It derives its value from the company it keeps. –  Barrie England Jan 18 '13 at 19:35
    
Thank you sir. You helped me a lot. –  Benyamin Hamidekhoo Jan 18 '13 at 19:37
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