It was not a 'dungeon'

News account of the Josef Fritzl case say that he kept his daughter and her children imprisoned in a ‘dungeon’ underneath his house.

Now, what he did was horrible, but have you seen pictures of this place?,8599,1736947,00.html

I would not want to be stuck there for 18 years, but it is not a dungeon. A dungeon is something like this:

What’s my point? I don’t know.

I get what you’re saying. The situation is deplorable enough without using exaggeration. Certainly it wasn’t the Four Seasons, but dungeon is stretching the word to the breaking point.

On one hand, I agree with the OP. As if the facts of the case weren’t horrific enough, let’s sensationalize it by calling it a DUNGEON… ooooo, scary!

But then on the other hand, if I were kept in a room for 24 years and repeatedly raped by my father and forced to bear his children, even a clean, brightly-lit space would feel like a dungeon.

A dungeon is a prison that is dark and, usually, underground. He kept them locked on a basement with no sunlight. It was, by definition, a dungeon.

dun·geon (dŭn’jən) pronunciation

  1. A dark, often underground chamber or cell used to confine prisoners.
  2. A donjon.
    If the place was simply not well-lit (which is possible, the pic in the OP has evidence markers so they might have brought in external lights), I think it fits definition one.

Have to agree with the Good Reverend. No argueing with a dictionary. Drat, another pit thread down the crap-per.

True, but if he went through the trouble of putting in a bathroom mirror, a tile floor, some kind of flower decoration, and all that stuff, I would think he also scrounged up adequate lighting.

This one’s sort of a wash. The dungeon pix in the link are about what that cute-little-flat would have looked like in the days before indoor plumbing, electric lights, and Marlite paneling. No matter how slick and homey it looks, if you can’t leave for 24 years, it’s a prison cell. I don’t think “dungeon” is an exaggeration.

For a long time, I’ve tried to resist the urge to point out the humor/irony in the google ads.

But these ads – “need help parenting?” – I can’t let pass.

This is an interesting example of the difference between connotative and denotative meaning. Even though the chamber in question fits an accepted formal definition of dungeon, the word usually suggests characteristics that are not part of that definition. So the usage can be said to be both accurate and exaggerated.

[Ogre]NEEEEERRD![/Ogre] :stuck_out_tongue:

[sup]I love this place![/sup]

Truth be told, I think I would rather not discuss it futher considering what that sick (expletive of your choice) did.

Hey Now ! Watch those wisecracks ! It’ll be moderator madness in here!

I love it too!

now that’s funny. Never thought anything could be funny with that situation. Strange things humans

Nicely put. I was thinking of how to explain that although the OP may have been technically incorrect, the point being made was clear and one I agree with: the word ‘dungeon’ brings up images of dank stone chambers which was clearly not the case.

The question I’m left with is whether the writers of the headlines knew they were being misleading, or if they assumed the denotative meaning was well-known.

Revtim, I agree with you and WFTomba. To my mind, however, while calling that space a dungeon is sensationalistic, using it in a headline would be effective and I think valid, as well:

Austrian Man Kept Daughter in Dungeon - For 24 Years

As a headline, or leader to the story, I think it is well served by both the connotative and denotative definitions. The space meets the definition of a dungeon - an underground place to imprison; and the connotations of torture prepare the reader for the other horrors that will follow in the story, as the reader gets the full details of rape and incest.

I agree with the OP, however, the use of the term in the meat of the story is a bit less defensible. It’s not completely wrong, but it’s still a bit misleading when talking simply about the space that the daughter and her children were housed within.

It’s not perfect, but I can’t think of a better word to use here. “Cell” is even less correct, as it implies no amenities, and “underground apartment” really doesn’t connote the horror of it all. I’m actually kinda glad that no word exists to really fit this situation. I’d hate to think we need one.

[Chekov]But it’s a very nice gilded cage.[/Chekov]

Wait. Whut?


How about “underground bunker”?

“Dungeon” works for me, though. There are simply no words for this story. I mean, wtf??!!! I’m a psychologist and I can’t even begin to fathom this one.