December 12, 2011


I bought a semi-boneless ham the other day. Isn’t semi-boneless an odd term? My ham does have a very conspicuous bone through its center. According to RecipeTips.Com, a semi-boneless ham is
A whole or half ham from the leg primal cut that has only the leg bone remaining. The hip or shank bone has been removed, making it easier to carve.
So a semi-boneless ham is boned, in the sense of having a bone and, at the same time, boned, in the sense of having at least one bone removed. A semi-boneless ham is not a boneless ham at all!

In the case of ham, the use of semi- has come to have a very specific, if curious meaning. Just think of the opportunities for using semi- to qualify otherwise definitive-sounding terms: semi-fat-free, semi-smoke-free, semi-salt-free, semi-gluten-free, semi-guileless, semi-fearless, semi-pointless, semi-moonless, and so forth. The possibilities are endless (or, perhaps, only semi-endless).


  1. Might those who claim to be Christian yet ignore the message about serving, feeding, sheltering, etc. be considered semi-Christian?

  2. I’m not sure I want to be in the business of figuring out what it means to be fully Christian.


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