church key

Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Tue Apr 4 19:09:58 UTC 2000

New York City and environs.

But... I did not learn the term till my early teens, and then in a peculiar way:
via loan translation. I was learning Esperanto (kiun mi ankoraux scipovas,
preskaux flue)* and was off on a weekend group retreat. Somebody, another New
Yorker IIRC, asked in E-o if anyone had a "pregxejsxlosilo"*, which is a lit.
translation of 'church key'. I was totally boggled and asked what he was talking
about. He didn't tell me, just reiterating his incredulity at my ignorance of
the expression -- I assume because *he* assumed I knew it in English and wasn't
making the leap. Someone told me a bit later, and after that I *seem* to recall
hearing it with some regularity. Certainly it was part of my standard colloquial
vocabulary by my 20's (ca. 1970, still ca. NYC).

-- Mark

* The "x" is one of the usual ASCII representations of a diacritical mark over
the preceding letter in standard E-o orthography: circumflex on consonants,
breve (short-mark, little cup) on "u".

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