Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Undoubtedly, yes, states the scholar who lurks in the corner of some untidy office shared with another who professes the same beliefs. William Shakespeare said so. But what if he had not said so? What if, instead, a student of literature had posed this as an extension of Juliette’s soliloquy in an essay?
One can only have supposed that a student would have been admonished in dulcet tones by the very same scholar; one must be clear, one must not speak so analogously, such a comment does not belong in an essay. But what if the student had gone further, found their own word for a rose to illustrate the very point our playwright was making?
We may imagine two scenarios as concrete consequences: the first that the professor understands the word through the context in which it is placed and the second that the professor cannot understand the word and refers to the student. In the first case the professor, nonetheless, criticises the student for making either a gross misjudgement in illustration or a grave error in spelling. In the second case the student offers a definition, still to be gently lectured on their mistake. The question then: who has the authority to create words and, more broadly, to create ideas?