This week's Word Watch column from Merriam-Webster's has the origins of some fun words: bumpkin, josh, spelunker and scallywag.
Some theorists suggest that "Josh" was once considered by certain people to be a homely or unrefined name, similar to "Rube," which is a nickname for "Reuben" and also (like "bumpkin") a term for an awkward and unsophisticated rustic.The Charlotte Observer's feature "Inside the Observer" seeks to demystify the role of copy editors. It also shares details about the desk there, and it's always fun to me to read how other desks work. (For example, the story says the Observer has 25 copy editors.) Several copy editors are mentioned -- recognize Amy French, Shelly Shepard, Chip Wilson, John Nalley?
We all know how easily homophones can slip past writers and editors alike. So having James Kilpatrick tell us how to avoid them (read carefully, read aloud) may not be so helpful. But his column this week is worth reading anyway just for the examples.
"Experts say Arizona's drought-like conditions are exasperating an ongoing problem."Enjoy your week, everyone.
A reader in Pensacola commented that prisoners in the local jail should thank God they're not in "a Third World penile system."