"scrimshander" -- new meaning, or misuse? (Or perhaps obsession)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat May 10 22:03:41 UTC 2008

 From an article about a Nantucket scrimshaw artist raided for
illegal ivory ("Paying a high price for a dying art", Boston Globe,
May 10, 2008, page A1; quote from A12, col.2; also found in cols. 3,
4 (3 times), and 5:

"For the small group of scrimshanders who still practice on
Nantucket, continuing to carve ivory is about preserving a way of
life and an art form."

OED2 (as also OED on-line, dated 1989) has no quotations for
"scrimshander" as a worker in scrimshaw, and defines it as the
product, the scrimshaw, with the most recent citation (with an "skr")
being 190.  For the worker, it has "scrimshoner", with just one citation, 1898.

So is "scrimshander" a misuse by the reporter (perhaps from
mishearing "scrimshoner"), or a new sense?  (I'm inquiring.)  It
clearly was so attractive that she used it 6 times in an article of
about 1,000 words.


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