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Does erudite carry positive or negative or neutral connotation?

I received a comment on my writing style from a mathematician a while ago

Why not try for direct active voice and stop trying to make it sound erudite?

  • I'm guessing that the comment in the linked post was trying to communicate that since you were writing about math, writing clearly was much, much more important than injecting your voice or sounding pretty. – Kevin Oct 13 '13 at 6:27
  • According to OED, this word is now commonly used (as in this case) in a sarcastic sense. – user49727 Oct 13 '13 at 14:01
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It is an entirely positive word. An attempt to sound affectedly erudite, on the other hand -- that is bad.

  • Does everyone have to sound affectedly erudite, before they are really erudite? – Tim Oct 13 '13 at 3:47
  • Well... No. You can simply not be conscious of your voice, and perhaps your erudition will shine through naturally. – Ernest Friedman-Hill Oct 13 '13 at 3:50
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    +1 I concur. If one were attempting "to sound affectedly erudite," I would instead refer to that person as being pedantic. Merriam-Webster's definition is my personal favorite: ostentatiously learned. – Lumberjack Oct 13 '13 at 4:00
  • Frederick Winsor spoke of an Erudite Verbal Haze in his poem "The Theory that Jack Built" that appeared in The Space-Child's Mother Goose (1958). It suggested obfuscation, and so wasn't entirely positive. – djs Jul 2 at 22:04

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