Magic Quotations (UNCLASSIFIED)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 11 05:20:11 UTC 2010

 Mark Mandel said:
> But "flight of hand" seems (to me at least) to deliberately evoke "sleight
> of hand".

Excellent point. In fact, I likely misread the text. The word "flight"
might be "slight" because the "f" might be an "s". Further, "slight"
might correspond to the modern sleight. OED has examples with the
spelling "slight" for "sleight":

1652 URQUHART Jewel Wks. (1834) 212 Who by hook and crook,..slight and
might, having feathered their neste to some purpose.

Google OCR is confusing "s" & "f", a well-known problem for OCR
systems  Here is an example from a 1775 text. Searching for "flight of
hand" yields a match to the phrase within the definitions below where
"slight of hand" is probably correct:

1775, The Royal English dictionary: or, A treasury of the English language

JUGGLE, S. a trick performed by slight of hand; an imposture, fraud,
or deception

JUGGLER, S. [from juggle,] one who practises slight of hand, or
performs tricks by nimble conveyance; a cheat or imposture.


The American Dialect Society -

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