worn-out names to apply to things

Estuvo diciendo que en aquello que él llama vejez, lo más repugnante, lo que determinaba la descomposición era pensar por conceptos, englobar a las mujeres en la palabra mujer, empujarlas sin cuidado para que pudieran amoldarse al concepto hecho por una pobre experiencia. Pero — decía también — tampoco la palabra experiencia era exacta. No había ya experiencias, nada más que costumbre y repeticiones, nombres marchitos para ir poniendo a las cosas y un poco crearlas.

Juan Carlos Onetti, Bienvenido, Bob

 

He was saying that, in what he called old age, the most repugnant thing, the determining factor in decomposition, or perhaps the symbol of decomposition, was to think in preconceived ideas, combining all women in the word woman, cramming them all in carelessly to make them conform to a preconceived idea based on very scanty experience. But, he went on, not even the word experience was the right one. By then, there were no experiences left, nothing except habits and repetitions, worn-out names to apply to things and so in a way create them.

Juan Carlos Onetti, Welcome, Bob (translated by Donald L. Shaw)
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