intrinsic (adj)

Or most commonly, intrinsically (adv) meaning “belonging to the very nature of a thing.”

1480-90; < Medieval Latin intrinsecus inward (adj.), Latin (adv.), equivalent to intrin- (int(e)r-, as in interior + -im adv. suffix) + secus beside, derivative of sequī to follow

A word that is tremendously overused, often redundantly, i.e., “intrinsic nature.” Suffers from the problem of employing the word “nature” in its definition, whatever that word means.  Etymologically, we see an interesting logic: intrinsic means “inside” and “beside,” the extrapolation here being that something that is both inside a thing and beside a thing is fundamentally a part of its “nature.”

Very closely related to “fundamentally.”


nonfunctional slack-fill

(noun).  This complex phrase is FDA legalese.  Found this one on a recent Planet Money episode on class action lawsuits.

Nonfunctional slack-fill is empty space in packaging that serves no purpose.  Potato chips, for example, have functional slack-fill in their packaging because the empty air in a potato chip bag protects the chips from pulverization. Nonfunctional slack-fill is when a seller deliberately deceives the consumer with excessive packaging.  As the Russian idiom goes, “all feathers, no fluff.”

Or, in academese, synonyms include: padding, fluff, filler, bullshit, and–at its worst–rhetoric.