Disband the band

In the latest development in the Robert Champion case, Champion’s family is calling for the Florida A&M marching band to be broken up, dissolved, dispersed. But the best verb to describe this action is disband, and all the coverage I’ve seen or heard (starting with the NPR news program Morning Edition today) uses it. So we’re getting stories about disbanding the band — with an unfortunate (but pretty much unavoidable) echo effect.

One story (from among a great many), the ESPN coverage:

Mom wants FAMU band disbanded

ATLANTA — The family of the Florida A&M University drum major who died in a hazing incident says the school should disband the famed marching band.

Pam Champion, the mother of Robert Champion, said Thursday that the only way to halt hazing in the program is to disband the marching band until further notice.

Disband and band are not just phonologically similar; they’re etymologically related. Disband is a derived verb based on the noun band ‘an organized company; a troop’ (as in Band of Brothers), with specialization of the noun to ‘a company of musicians’.


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