[Ads-l] grieve, trans.

Fri Jan 23 15:44:21 UTC 2015

Since emails I send as replies seem to result in gibberish for many, I'll see if this will work if sent as a new message.  Please let me know if you can read this and you otherwise see emails from me as random code, since they come through fine for me.

Fred Shapiro mentioned the "file a formal grievance" sense of "grieve" in 2011, but I don't think there was any further discussion.  Of course, the OED entry for grieve, v., has not been fully updated since 1900.  This sense of "grievance" is also missing from the OED.

Modern American dictionaries, such as M-W and AHD, do have definitions for this sense of "grieve."  AHD's usage note says, "More recently, grieve has also come to be used to mean "to file an official or formal grievance." This extended sense does not find favor with the Usage Panel. In 2013, only 21 percent found its use in this passage acceptable:  _Saradnik was asked to resign as coach following complaints by several parents. Because Saradnik has grieved his dismissal, school officials aren't commenting._  This usage is relatively uncommon outside of the sphere of labor and management disputes."

Of course, the views of a generalist usage panel matter little when it comes to a technical usage.  Bryan Garner writes in Garner's Dictionary of Legal Usage (3d ed. 2011):  "But recently the verb has taken on a new legal meaning:  "to bring a grievance for the purpose of protesting."  The emergence of this sense is not entirely surprising because it is implied by the words _grievable_ and _grievant_.  Stylists are not likely to use the verb, but neither are they likely to succeed in expunging it."  Garner goes on to quote some examples from published legal opinions.

The earliest example I see is from 1951, referring to events of 1949:  "Following these futile negotiations the parties met again on April 27 [, 1949,] when the Respondent produced another written proposed agreement. . . . [T]he Respondent's new proposals added the following new demands:  1. Eliminated the clause guaranteeing employees freedom from discharge except for 'just cause' and the right to grieve for the abuse thereof . . . ."  NLRB v. Hart Cotton Mills, 190 F.2d 964, 967 n.2 (4th Cir. 1951).

John Baker

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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