OT: Ben Zimmer and SLATE

bapopik at AOL.COM bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Oct 27 21:03:21 UTC 2005

I got about 8,100 web hits yesterday. Some came from a Slate.com article that was contributed to by Ben Zimmer. Take a look at the article if you wish.
OT: I had two candidate debates the past two nights. I was overly angry at my opponent the first debate (I was told that he had been destroying evidence in a still-pending Campaign Finance violation case, but couldn't comment on that), but settled down in the second debate, just discussed the issues, and impressed everybody.
By the first decade of the 1900s, "sox" was already a common way to shorten "socks." The "x" version of the word frequently appeared in advertisements for hosiery, for example. And in his 1921 tome The American Language, H.L. Mencken described "sox" as a "vigorous newcomer." "The White Sox are known to all Americans; the White Socks would seem strange," he wrote.
The spelling reform movement weakened over the course of the 20th century. But by the time "sox" fell out of fashion, the baseball nicknames were already entrenched in the sports pages and in the hearts of the teams' fans.
Bonus Explainer: The White Sox and Red Sox weren't the only early-20th century teams not to have a steady nickname. Interchangeable nicknames were common in old-time baseball. Before becoming universally known as the Yankees, New York's American League team was also known as the Highlanders, the Invaders, and the Porchclimbers in the early 1900s.
Got a question about today's news? Ask the Explainer .
Explainer thanks Jill Lepore of Harvard University and Ben Zimmer of Rutgers University.

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