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by Erik_Kowal
Thu May 12, 2005 5:38 am
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: How do you pronounce 'Confirm'?
Replies: 6
Views: 4615

How do you pronounce 'Confirm'?

I know someone who is perfectly literate, but still tends to say 'acrost' instead of 'across'. Beats me why -- the spelling is perfectly unmistakable. Now imagine a scene that might have taken place when Rodgers and Hammerstein were collaborating on South Pacific : Rodgers: We need some more romance...
by Erik_Kowal
Thu May 12, 2005 4:08 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: ol' instead of Old
Replies: 3
Views: 6041

ol' instead of Old

Or what about plain ol' 'N', as in "N'Orleans"?
by Erik_Kowal
Wed May 11, 2005 4:33 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: denim and corduroy
Replies: 21
Views: 3960

denim and corduroy

I had always thought Aberflyhalf was a scrummy place near Rugby.
by Erik_Kowal
Wed May 11, 2005 10:57 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: origin of the usage P.U.
Replies: 14
Views: 5410

origin of the usage P.U.

Very well spotted, Bob! I did not notice that! :-D
by Erik_Kowal
Wed May 11, 2005 5:05 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: origin of the usage P.U.
Replies: 14
Views: 5410

origin of the usage P.U.

My hypothesis -- and it is only an impression, not a thoroughly-researched theory -- is that 'P.U.' (which as far as I have been able to observe is a purely American term) is a kind of exaggerated interjection of disgust which has been influenced jointly by 'poo' (= 'shit'), 'pooh!' (another interje...
by Erik_Kowal
Tue May 10, 2005 10:08 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: denim and corduroy
Replies: 21
Views: 3960

denim and corduroy

Because you are a republican at heart and do not wish to be associated with 'corde du roi' or any other trappings of the monarchy?

I just know the Queen wears corduroy underpants! That's what has kept Prince Philip so attentive all these years! :-D
by Erik_Kowal
Tue May 10, 2005 6:35 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: denim and corduroy
Replies: 21
Views: 3960

denim and corduroy

One of the most remarkable civil engineering feats within living memory whose achievement depended considerably on corduroy/log roads to cope with waterlogged terrain was the construction of the Alaska Highway following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Just slightly before your time, Ken!
by Erik_Kowal
Mon May 09, 2005 6:28 pm
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: Seeking a word
Replies: 15
Views: 3189

Seeking a word

This is rather curious -- Russ Cable and Dale Hileman are the two people who most recently contributed postings to this thread according to 'Active Topics', but nothing recent from either of them shows up when you click on the thread. I wonder how this posting will fare?
by Erik_Kowal
Mon May 09, 2005 7:47 am
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: Seeking a word
Replies: 15
Views: 3189

Seeking a word

William, which do you like the sound of more? 'Benevolent', or 'despot'? :-)

PS -- Do give our regards to John Bolton!
by Erik_Kowal
Sun May 08, 2005 9:21 pm
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: Seeking a word
Replies: 15
Views: 3189

Seeking a word

Actually, this word is normally spelt 'parliamentarian'. :-)
by Erik_Kowal
Sun May 08, 2005 10:19 am
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: skinned alive
Replies: 22
Views: 5769

skinned alive

You are quite right, it sounds extremely weird.

Not only that, but I don't see the relevance of your question to a forum that is primarily devoted to the meaning and etymology of English words and expressions.
by Erik_Kowal
Sun May 08, 2005 3:08 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: fanny packs
Replies: 12
Views: 2901

fanny packs

While 'bum' is also passively understood in the US as referring to the buttocks, its primary connotation there is 'tramp, hobo'. 'Fanny', on the other hand, is generally regarded as a rather quaint or genteel word for the arse, so in my view its acceptance in the term 'fanny pack' (aided by its asso...
by Erik_Kowal
Sat May 07, 2005 11:49 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Just that
Replies: 4
Views: 1865

Just that

Yes, Dale, as your AP text demonstrates, the context is often decisive for how we must interpret a statement; but it is precisely because this is so that I disagree with your hypothesis about Chiara's wishes. Anny's original question includes the statement that: "Having grown up reading about her mo...
by Erik_Kowal
Sat May 07, 2005 5:26 pm
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: Seeking a word
Replies: 15
Views: 3189

Seeking a word

How about policymaker, policy unit, policy director?
by Erik_Kowal
Sat May 07, 2005 1:57 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Mother of All Etymologies
Replies: 33
Views: 9457

Mother of All Etymologies

Perhaps we atheists should unite under the standard of 'Bantheism'... No, just kidding! Although, despite the impression I must have created with my reference to the annoyingly ubiquitous SS Peter -- regarding whom the task you have implicitly set of determining the precise total is at least as prod...