Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Best. Word. Ever?

During the course of copy-editing a culinary class catalogue for a freelance client, I came across what might be the greatest word in the dictionary:

spatchcock

Not only is it just really cool to say, dig on the two completely divergent definitions given in Webster's:

1. [Brit.] to split open and broil (a fowl)
2. [Informal] a) to interpolate (a word or words) in or into a text, often hastily or inappropriately b) to put together so as to form a unit or whole, often a clumsy or incongruous one

I mean, how cool is that? Can you imagine a sentence in which the editor would have to say to the writer, "Um, can we use another word than the second instance of 'spatchcock' here? It seems we've accidentally repeated it."

"Harris, who was busy spatchcocking a Cornish hen, didn't realize that he'd just spatchcocked several paragraphs of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus into his introduction to The Young People's Christian Bible for Today and Tomorrow."

14 Comments:

Anonymous Adrian said...

Dear Stylish,

Yes, that is a nice word.

What is your stance on "different from" vs. "different than"? I've always stood behind the former, thanks to my brain, but in certain types of comparisons, my heart tells me it's better to go with the latter.

Why is this?

11:30 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

Adrian!

I personally have no feelings either way, so I slavishly do what the stylebook tells me to. Which I think is "different from." But I bet I say "different than" all the time. How's that for a nonanswer? And what do ya think about "nonanswer" vs. "non-answer"? It never ends!

I'd be interested to hear what the other dorks on this site think, but I think they've all forgotten their passwords.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Spatchcock"--nice! And Merriam-Webster Third International helpfully points out that it probably derives from "spitchcock"--that's a split and grilled eel. Oh, look; here's "spatterdash." Splendid word.
Thanks for the excursion into dictionarydom.
(Incidentally, Garner's Modern American Usage is, as ever, quite helpful on the issue of "different from/than/to.")
Laurie

8:56 AM  
Anonymous emma said...

another good one, chiefly British:

Tufthunter

n. A hanger-on to noblemen, or persons of quality, especially in English universities; a toady.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Craig said...

Hail Britannia!

Except for their insistence on spelling it “towards” instead of “toward.”

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