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The Baltimore Sun

Hon ho-hum

My eminent colleague Richard Gorelick blogs that Cafe Hon proprietress Denise Whiting, evidently under the tutelage of Gordon Ramsay, is abandoning her claim to trademark the word hon.

So now, what was a manufactured controversy a year ago over a matter of minuscule significance* can be, one dares to hope, an extinct controversy. (I suspect, though, that the people who were so weirdly intemperate a year ago yet harbor considerable spleen to vent.)

I have been puzzled throughout by the claim, frequently advanced during the late unpleasantness, that hon is a distinctively Baltimorean word. My wife, who grew up in Ohio, called me “hon” well before we moved to Maryland. And the earliest citation of the word as a term of endearment, a diminutive of honey, in the OED is from a 1906 entry in Dialect Notes, which identifies it as prevalent in northwest Arkansas.

 

*No, I’m not going to link back to posts about it. If you are ignorant of the Hontroversy, consider yourself fortunate.

 

 

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