Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Popular etymology

... Pox Pop - The Dabbler.

I cannot boast Eric Partridge’s voluminous correspondence – the modern world lacks, I suggest, a sufficiency of ageing gentlemen with inquiring minds and time on their hands; and in any case, in a world of instantly available blogs, why suggest, let alone ask when one can pontificate. But I get a trickle of mails. These do ask, but even more they suggest. Etymologies, stories behind words. As often as not these stories run counter to the canon, which in etymology as published one hopes is the product of informed research. I do not wish to belittle my correspondents, I am grateful for their contact and in a world of relativism, many might ask why should my etymologies, or indeed those of the OED be any ‘better’ than anyone else’s. But better is not the point, ‘as correct as one can manage’ surely is.

1 comment:

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