Date: Tue, 25 Jul 1995 12:16:07 +0100


Subject: sherbe(r)t

I'm just looking at the entry in Webster's Dictionary of English Usage on

this subject: they conclude that sherbert is a standard variant, found most

heavily in 20th c. English and American usage, even if the second r is

unetymological. What they don't cover is the sherbert/sorbet distinction,

which seems to me to function today like the spaghetti/pasta distinction

and the many names for coffees: a yuppy phenom. My kids, who apparently

are yuppies, eat pasta, while I still cook them spaghetti. And I am told to

buy ice cream for the kids and sorbet for the grownups when I head out to

Baskin Robbins. I always ask for sherbert, since it must be cheaper than


Dennis (who is learning to say double nothing for large decaf cappucino

made with skim milk)


Dennis Baron debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Department of English office: 217-333-2392

University of Illinois fax: 217-333-4321

608 South Wright Street home: 217-384-1683

Urbana, Illinois 61801