Tomorrow's Safire "On Language" column

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Dec 15 01:01:59 UTC 2002

Nice to see the credit for Barry.   I did notice one typo (or, if you
prefer, type-o) just afterward, a missing comma ("Barry Popik, an
etymologist has found..."), but (slightly) more substantively,
there's a bit of an overstatement earlier in the column.  Safire
draws the useful distinction between true acronyms and initialisms,
but overstates the case in describing the lead player of his column,
"G.O.P./GOP", as 'universally pronounced gee-oh-pee--by its
initials--and never as the word "gop", rhyming with "cop".'  This
claim immediately brought to mind Cole Porter's "You're the Top",
from _Anything Goes_, which I just confirmed includes the following

You're a boom,
You're the dam at Boulder,
You're the moon,
Over Mae West's shoulder,
I'm the nominee of the G.O.P.


But if, baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!

So on at least this one occasion, albeit with poetic license, "GOP"
does indeed rhyme with "top", if not with "cop".


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