or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Friday, March 30, 2007

Get Back

I was doing a sort of crossword puzzle and one of the clues was "Meet with fellow alumni", and the answer--which I refused to believe at first, and could hardly bring myself to pencil in afterwards--was "reune".

"Tell me that's not a word!", I thought.

The Random House dictionaries don't recognize it, bless 'em, and neither does Answers.com. The OED does, but grudgingly, holding the word between thumb and forefinger at arm's length by calling it "U.S. colloq."

Harvard Magazine has gone on record as being in a tizzy about this issue. They want "reune". They feel the language is inadequate to their needs without it. Have their English professors taught them nothing?

We don't need to have a single specific word to describe every thing that can be described. Sometimes a two- or three-word phrase is just fine, and this, it seems to me, is one of those times. What's wrong with "hold a reunion" or "attend a reunion"? Do we honestly need yet another hideous back-formation to pollute the language?

The answer, in case the people at Harvard Magazine were wondering, is "No."

Speaking of august institutions, the Smithsonian Institution has put its name on a series of science kits, a couple of which we sell at the store at which I work. The Giant Volcano kit looks kind of lame, even for an eight-year-old's science-fair project--you make a plaster volcano and then get it to "erupt" with dyed baking soda and vinegar--but at least the Smithsonian Institution has every child's well-being in mind: the kit comes with a set of plastic safety goggles.

Or so you'd think. According to the box, they're actually "saftey goggles", which I hope are the same thing.


Blogger D S said...

I have never hear of that word, will add it to my vocabulary! Check out my airsoft guns site

Saturday, April 17, 2010 2:26:00 PM  

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