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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:

DODGY

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There should be no shame in incorporating expressive informal Britishisms into American usage. Dodgy (pronounced DAHJ-ee) is a particularly useful one in its range of possibilities.

It derived in the mid-nineteenth century, obviously, from dodge, the verb for slipping aside evasively, the noun for a trick or cheat. The "slipping aside" sense turned up early, dodgy understood as indicating "tricky" or "evasive."

But its suspect quality quickly expanded into the senses of "risky or uncertain," "dishonest or unreliable," "potentially dangerous," and finally, "of low quality." You can enter into a dodgy business transaction with a dodgy partner, with dodgy consequences from vending dodgy wares.

Example: From a 2009 article in Rolling Stone, "50 Reasons to Watch TV," about Glee: "It seemed like a dodgy idea at first—a dramedy about adolescent show-tune queens, from Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy."

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