Quote: “The danger is not just bio-terror but bio-error.” Washington Post.
Figure of Speech: dirimens copulatio (deera-mens cop-u-LAT-io), the but-wait-there’s-more figure. From the Greek, meaning “an interrupted joining.”
Thanks to Dave Cantrell for sending this in to Ask Figaro. The Post story describes DNA research that promises—or threatens—to create synthetic lifeforms for use in everything from fuel additives to medicines. An opposing group, calling for a virtual ban against releasing these made-to-order organisms, crafts a sexy little dirimens copulatio. The figure adds a bonus point to an already-strong argument: “Afraid of terrorism?” it says. “Well, that’s not the only problem here.”
By making its D. copulatio rhyme, the watchdog group makes error sound like an inevitable add-on to terror. Synthetic additive, indeed.
Snappy Answer: “What about bio-Luddites?”