You Don't Say

You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.
So I'm sometimes a fussbudget. So sue me.

Writing the other day at Lingua Franca, Ben Yagoda took gentle exception to my expressed distaste (read: contempt) for some of the common pleonasms that crop up in journalism: close proximity and safe haven among the frequent targets of my scorn.

These are, he thinks, merely “emphatic redundancies” than great sins, and he argues, “If you are among the most mindful writers, you tend to avoid them.

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In a word: flagitious

 

Each week The Sun’s John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word:

 flagitious

Many things are bad, but some are just vile. For the latter category, we have words like flagitious (pronounced fluh-JISH-us).

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The Baltimore Sun and the vernacular

Shortly after I posted a set of citations from The Baltimore Sun in the Oxford English Dictionary, I heard from Jonathon Green, compiler of the splendid Green’s Dictionary of Slang, who said that The Sun has also cropped up in his citations and kindly offered to furnish a few.

Staid as we often are on Calvert Street, we do resort to the demotic. Here is a selection.

1861 Baltimore Sun (MD) 23 Feb.

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The Baltimore Sun and the OED

When the twenty-volume second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published in 1989, Judy Anderson of The Sun's London bureau, put together a little book of 103 pages, listing the citations from The Sun in the OED.

Paul McCardell, The Sun’s librarian, put the book in my hands, and the contents are too delightful not to share.

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Hold your fire

A McClatchy dispatch on President Donald Trump’s attack on Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California includes this sentence: “The consensus-minded senator has drawn flack from progressives in California for not taking a tough enough stand against the president in the past.”

No.

A flack is a spokesperson, representative, press agent, publicist, or some such person employed in public relations.

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In a word: adamant

Each week The Sun’s John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word:

A couple of weeks ago I had word of a reader’s complaint that I was using highfalutin words in Baltimore Sun headlines.

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