arbiter, arbitrator, mediator

arbiter_3

 

By DICK CAVELLI

The three titles are often used interchangeably by the media, but there are clear differences among them.

The arbiter, for example, is a chosen or appointed judge or umpire; an absolute and final judge. An arbitrator is a person chosen by agreement of parties to decide a dispute between them, and a mediator is one who interposes between parties to reconcile them.

Of the three, the arbiter sounds as if he’d be the toughest cookie, while the mediator sounds like an old softie who puts his arms around the warring parties and says, “Come on fellas, make nice, don’t fight.”

 

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The Writer's Stylebook is a unique collaboration between two former journalists -- my father, Lawrence, and me. Mr. Fellows, an impassioned wordsmith and journalist of long standing, created the original Stylebook, which he distributed to Connecticut newspapers and worked on for over a decade until his death 16 years ago. In 2003, the Connecticut Press Club published "Wordwatch: A Writer's Guide to Linguistic Distinctions," a compendium of nearly 300 of my father's word features. Unfortunately, that book is out of print and my father's features have been languishing in the attic of our family home in Westport -- until now. With the blessing of my mother, Ruth, I'm reviving the Stylebook and putting it online in the hope that it will find new readers. I think there's a need for a lively, illustrated guide to words and word usages that isn't wordy -- especially in today's fast-paced world!

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