Dentifrice (was: "Commercial" words - was: plural people)

James Smith jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM
Thu Apr 27 14:02:31 UTC 2006

I've pondered on this a bit, and frankly - I don't
understand the problem; what am I missing here?
(Pate) dentifrice in french = toothpaste or dentifrice
in english; why would anyone be disturbed by this
translation?  Was there something more in the New
Yorker story that gave this a twist?  What would
absinthe have to do with teeth, and what on earth is a
do-it-yourself absinthe kit, anyway?  Did the
pharmacist just completely misundertstand the request?

--- "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM> wrote:

>         And, since we've picked it up in this
> thread:  I'm not so sure
> that I'm disturbed by The New Yorker's translation
> of "dentifrice" as
> "toothpaste."  The writer was, after all,
> translating a French word,
> albeit one whose meaning in English is approximately
> the same as that of
> the English word with the same spelling.  Since the
> pharmacist responded
> to the request for a dentifrice by providing a sort
> of do-it-yourself
> absinthe kit, it seems reasonable for the writer to
> clarify that he was,
> nominally, asking for toothpaste.
> John Baker

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