Safire on Contraction

Grant Barrett gbarrett at AMERICANDIALECT.ORG
Sun Feb 6 20:51:36 UTC 2000

"A special target for the squirrels of squeeze has been Social Security. This
generation, promised six full syllables with no cutbacks, was willing to accept
'Soshasecurity.' But what of the candidates who promise the salvation of "Sosh-security" or
preserving untouched the indexed benefits of 'Sosa-CURE-ity'? Dwayna M. Wisdom of Union
City, N.J., notes other variations from 'SoSecurity' to 'Soshacurity.' "

Here at Columbia University, they (irritatingly) tend to use our Social Security
numbers for record keeping. When they need it, they ask for my "social," without the
number, and often just my "sosh" (rhymes with gauche).

Other times, they call it my "ID number," as if to disguise what I consider a
questionable use of a government-issued identifier.

Grant Barrett
gbarrett at

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