Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 15:18:57 GMT
From: Barnhart Lexik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]HIGHLANDS.COM
Subject: Words with variable references
There is a very interesting quote in Mencken (4th ed., p 289-90) concerning
variation in meaning, for what it's worth:
If an Englishman reads "The floorwalker says to go to the _notion_ counter,"
he knows at least one word he does not understand. If he reads a speech of
Presiden Roosevelt declaring that "our industries have little doubt of
_black-ink_ operations in the last quarter of the year.' he is at least aware
of a foreign usage, and may be trusted to go off and discover it. But if I
write "The _clerk_ gave a _biscuit_ to the _solicitor_," He will imagine
something precise, if a little odd. The trouble is that, however lively his
imagination, what he imagines may be precise but is bound to be wrong. For
he is confronted with three nouns which mean different things in the United
States and in England.