Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jan 25 15:00:59 UTC 2001

>I heard it in the 1990's, can't remember where, might even have been
>I assumed it to have been conceived -- as a deliberately sexless term -- by
>analogy with "patron" [of the restaurant]. It was pronounced to rhyme with
>"patron" on the very few occasions when I heard it, so it did not evoke
>images of subatomic particles, cyclotrons, automata, etc.
>It appears in AHD4 and in the Random House dictionary (RH apparently agrees
>with my etymology). There are plenty of instances on the Web.
>-- Doug Wilson

Notice though that the first listed AHD4 pronunciation is with
secondary stress on the "tron", thus paralleling "neutron" and
"automatron".  This is the way I've always heard it pronounced
(granted, usually in mention rather than use contexts), and I never
thought of a parallel with "patron" of the kind that would correlate
with reduced stress on the second syllable.  The unstressed "patron"
version would also be much less likely to yield that useful verb I
mentioned (as in "tronning for senior dinner").


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