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palapaguy
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2018 11:08:32 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/28/2013
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Location: Calabasas, California, United States
A news headline today reads: "North Carolina's wild horses face existential threat from junk food, group says."

What does "existential" add to the headline, if anything? Of course the threat must be an existing one in order to be a present threat. Is it included only to emphasize that the threat is real?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2018 11:15:18 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hi palapaguy!

I think it is not "an existing threat" but "a threat to their existence".

So if one wrote it in normal English, rather than "headline", it would be something like:
"North Carolina's wild horses face existential threat from junk food, group says."

"The group have said that junk food is causing a threat to the existence of wild horses in North Carolina."

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2018 12:00:04 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
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Certain junk food additives have been shown to be hallucinogenics in horses. In North Carolina a recent uptick in people feeding such things to horses has led to the horses abandoning their normal tasks, and contemplating the place of the horse in the universe.
Dancing Dancing Dancing

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Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2018 12:13:02 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 29,456
Neurons: 169,914
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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