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I am Hungarian, and I can completely understand the words destruction, construction, and deconstruction, although the corresponding Hungarian words are rarely used. I don't know if the con- possesses any meaning there, please explain the situation to me.

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closed as general reference by Robusto, choster, Hellion, MετάEd, RegDwigнt Jun 13 '13 at 8:46

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Destruction is what orcs do. Deconstruction is what graduate students in English Lit do. So... no difference, really. –  JSBձոգչ Mar 21 '11 at 18:30
    
'Deconstruction' in the literary studies sense never seems to me more than 'analysis' –  Mitch Mar 22 '11 at 0:12
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@Mitch I have actually found "deconstruction" as a concept more useful than most English Lit jargon. As used by the masters, it is more than analysis in that it tries to find inherent contradictions in the work that the author is not aware of. The work is kind of "set against itself." One example perhaps would be the English eugenicists who constantly penned works exhorting the upper class to breed, yet never had any children themselves, and were disparaging of family life in some of their writings. This is almost unbearably colloquial, but I feel like "self-ownage" would be a valid synonym. –  Uticensis Mar 22 '11 at 3:44

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Destruction is the act of destroying something; rendering it unusable, unrepairable, broken into unusable fragments.

Deconstruction is the act of taking something apart, down to its most basic pieces. (A more common word would be disassembly.)

"Deconstruction" can also be used to refer to the theory or process behind "deconstructionism", which is "a philosophical theory of criticism (usually of literature or film) that seeks to expose deep-seated contradictions in a work by delving below its surface meaning".

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'Disassembly' completely describes it, thanks a lot! –  sparky Mar 21 '11 at 18:32
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@sparky "reverse engineering" is similar to deconstruction –  Jim Nov 15 '11 at 17:33

deconstruction: to take something apart (possible to put it back together)
opposite of construction

destruction: to destroy something, no longer possible to put it back together
opposite of creation

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Thank you this answer, too. –  sparky Mar 21 '11 at 18:46

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