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

G. Stella skanashi at YAHOO.COM
Sat May 10 23:37:35 UTC 2008

I've just been a lurker ever since I joined this list,
but I'll speak up for once. I live in Barnstable, MA,
and I've heard the term 'scrimshander' often enough.
In my experience, it's the correct term for a
scrimshaw artist. It's used by local heritage museums
and members of the local arts community.

I've never to my knowledge heard 'scrimshoner'.

Gynn Silva

--- "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
> header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      "scrimshander" -- new meaning, or
> misuse? (Or perhaps obsession)
>  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.
> Joel
> The American Dialect Society -
> http://www.americandialect.org

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