JAMES A. LANDAU Netscape. Just the Net You Need. JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Wed Feb 6 00:07:53 UTC 2008

Benjamin Barrett caught me asleep at the keyboard:

>The only mention I find in the ADS archives on "rooves" is
>"The phrase comes from the days when most roofs were thatch.  Now thatch
>contains seeds, which means it attracts mice and rats who eat the
>seeds.  To get the rhodents out of their rooves, people would turn their
>cats and dogs loose on the roof.  When it rained, the felines and
>canines were washed off the roof, hence the expression."
>(Note that this citation also includes the spelling "rhodents".)

A long-time friend of mine (who has three cats and a dog) asked me about this supposed etymology.  Since she is hardly given to accepting fish stories, I told her I would ask the ADS-L about it.

What I was thinking when I typed “roves” I do not remember.
“I was kept awake by the sound of hooves on the rooves”?
“The two wolves, instead of snarling, let out happy wooves”?
“The mathematician proves the desired proofs”?

No, it looks as if I made a goove.  Or perhaps I have found my groof.

As for “rhodent”, yes, that was illiteracy on my part, but it has a certain plausibility.  Consider the rhyming, rhetorical, rheumy Rhodes scholars who rhythmically induced the rhinocerous to dance along the Rhine and Rhone Rhivers.

This is known to linguists as the “Rh factor”.

OT: as for rapid-transit chess (the term I’m most familiar with), if you don’t happen to have a chess “clock” available, the only way to proceed is to establish a time-per-move limit.

A chess clock has a lever on top, with a rod extending down into each clock mechanism.  When the lever is horizontal (which it where you leave it when the clock is not in use), neither mechanism can run.  When you push down your end of the lever, you mechanism is stopped but your opponent’s starts running.  Vice versa when your opponent presses down his/her end of the lever.

OT: to the person who suffered a bogus arrest in Slidell, Louisiana, console yourself with the fact that John Slidell was the victim of one of history’s most famous false arrests.  (By the way, MWCD11 says “/slai ‘del/ by collateral descendants /’slai d at l/”).

           James A. Landau
           test engineer
           Northrop-Grumman Information Technology
           8025 Black Horse Pike, Suite 300
           West Atlantic City NJ 08232 USA

Netscape.  Just the Net You Need.

The American Dialect Society -

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