In some other stackexchange group, someone used the words "nadir of unprofessionalism" to express that in his opinion, some behaviour was very, very unprofessional.

Now "nadir" is the lowest point, and "zenith" is the highest point. But the words may also be used as "worst" and "best". Being very, very unprofessional is the highest degree of unprofessionalism, but at the same time also the worst case of unprofessionalism.

Is "nadir of unprofessionalism" a correct way to express "very, very unprofessional"? Or should it be "zenith of unprofessionalism"? Or would either be correct?


2 Answers 2


I would say that 'nadir' of unprofessionalism is more effective.

It emphasises the depth that has been reached - that there is no greater depth. I think it is confusing, idiomatically, to say 'zenith' which expresses a pinnacle of height, usually a matter of achievement.


Those phrases are equivalent. Anyway, using "nadir" and "zenith" referring to professionalism doesn't seem very professional to me - they're superfluous. Kinda like that, I could have simply written "unnecessary". Who was the audience for this? Other writers? What if ESL* writers wanted to follow the thread? Those readers might have to pause, open a tab, and look up the definitions. Writing is about communication, not showing off vocabulary. If someone is unprofessional then he/she is unprofessional. Enough said. What's added by adding "nadir" or "zenith"? Less is more.

Sidebar: What if your reader was dealing with sexual, physical harassment at work? He or she might have quite a different idea of what the nadir of professionalism is.

*ESL - English as a Second Language


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.