Has it truly come to this?

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Apr 13 15:16:18 UTC 2006

Yes.  (I believe I mentioned last year the experienced M.D. of my acquaintance who was unfamiliar with the word "italics."  He called them "slanty letters" and was impressed that I had a big word for them.)

  In a similar vein, a Discovery Channel show the other night had a bit about somebody's orders being "overrided" by Hitler.


Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Wilson Gray
Subject: Has it truly come to this?

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

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