An irregular declension: My "faith", your "deeply held belief", his/her "superstition"…

Jeff Tan and LP Cruz are discussing an event non-Filipinos know little about: the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

I thought I would look up what Wikipedia had to say about “superstition” (some would regard the idea that Wikipedia can give you authoritative statements as itself a superstition, but we won’t go there).

I discover that in fact, “superstition” appears to be one of those “irregular nouns” that Bernard Woolley was so fond of in “Yes, Minister” (eg.: “That’s one of those irregular verbs, isn’t it? I give confidential security briefings. You leak. He has been charged under section 2a of the Official Secrets Act.”). Here’s what Wiki had to say:

Superstition indicates something standing above, or set up above. The earliest English uses of the word in the modern era refer critically to Catholic practices such as censing, rosaries, holy water and other practices that Protestants believed went beyond – or were set up above – their own interpretation of the New Testament practices of Christianity. From there the uses of the term expanded to include non-Christian religious practices, and beliefs that seemed unfounded or primitive in the light of modern knowledge.

So it seems that Lito is using the noun (and its adjective) in the original and purest form: to deride acts of faith that are different from your own.

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