Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Apr 1 20:26:08 UTC 2013

Last week, Yvonne Brill -- a pioneering rocket scientist best known
for her work developing the technologies that help keep our satellites
in orbit -- passed away. And she was, unsurprisingly, given an
obituary inThe New York Times. The first line of that obituary,
though, was a little less unsurprising. Because it originally read
like this: "She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from
job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children.
'The world's best mom,' her son Matthew said."
Oof -- the husband-follower and kid-haver and meat-cooker, who was
also a rocket scientist! This was bad for several reasons, which was
why the Times has since updated its wording. There's the gender issue,
first of all: the fact that it's nearly impossible to imagine a male
scientist of Brill's standing getting stroganoffed in this way.

The article links to a tweet from Ruth Franklin:

well, at least we got a new buzzword out of this: to be "stroganoffed."


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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