On Tuesday, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted by a narrow margin to confuse people everywhere. It’s not that they have “no” confidence in University President Lawrence H. Summers. They just “lack” it.
What’s going to happen? Why did they say that? What does their resolution even mean? Check these choice excerpts from the Oxford English Dictionary.
1. With a singular or plural noun. Not any. (e.g., 1804 ‘E. DE ACTON’ Tale without Title: “I never reads no Novels; for I knows nothing they are good for.”) ...
6.b. Forming nouns with the sense ‘that is absent’, ‘that does not exist’, as no-confidence, -cover, etc. (e.g., 1948 D. BALLANTYNE Cunninghams: “Ralph showed off, riding no-hands and skidding in the loose metal.”)
1.a. intr. To be wanting or missing; to be deficient in quantity or degree. (1362 LANGL. P. Pl. A. v.: “And thauh my lyflode lakke letten I nulle That vche mon schal habben his.”)
2.a. trans. To be without, not to have; to have too little of; to be destitute of or deficient in. (e.g., 1813 SCOTT Rokeby: “I could have laughed—but lacked the time.”)
In conclusion, the Faculty “have too little” confidence in Summers, but not enough confidence in themselves to just say no.