Has it truly come to this?

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 13 13:01:01 UTC 2006

>From a letter published in the April 17, 2006, issue of
The New Yorker:

"... _dentifrice_ (toothpaste) ..."

in which the writer assumes that _dentifrice_ is a foreign - in
this case, French - term that needs to be translated for the
average TNY reader.

WTF! According to the OED Online, "dentifrice" has been used in
English since at least the 16th century. I learned the term in
the '40's from hearing it used in toothpaste commercials on the
radio, before I learned to read. "Dental cream" was another
fancy term for "toothpaste" used in those days.

Can it truly be the case that people who read TNY have lexicons
so restricted that ordinary English words are foreign to them?

-Wilson Gray

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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