Date: Wed, 1 Oct 1997 02:26:54 -0400 From: "Barry A. Popik" Subject: Henrickson's "revised" ENCYCLOPEDIA review; P.O.T.U.S. or P.U.S.? BOOK REVIEW: THE FACTS ON FILE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WORD AND PHRASE ORIGINS, REVISED AND EXPANDED EDITION by Robert Hendrickson 1997 ed. (previously issued in 1987 as THE HENRY HOLT ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WORD AND PHRASE ORIGINS) 754 pages with index (prior edition was 581 pages without an index) For those who don't want to wade through or can't afford DARE, RHHDAS, and OED, this is an alternative that schoolchildren and nonscholarly libraries will turn to. It's not very good. Sadly, it will be a primary source for many people. It will perpetuate a great deal of misinformation for a long time. The first edition ("'A feast for phrase detectives...that will enliven debates and illuminate issues.'--William Safire" graces the cover) contained errors in nearly every entry. To my eyes in a quick reading, it still sucks. The original preface: "Scholars like Professor Gerald Cohen of the University of Missouri-Rolla devote years and pages enough for a book in scientifically tracking down the origins of a single word, but a great number of the word derivations on record amount to little more than educated guesswork." The added preface: "...has about 25 percent completely new material and now covers some 15,000 word and phrase origins, roughly triple the greatest number in any previous collection of its kind." With prefaces like these, how is it that ALL of my work and nearly all of Professor Cohen's work is NOT here?? Take three entries, for example--although I could continue all day: "CANUCK. _Canuck_ as a derogatory name for a French Canadian has been around since about 1865, with both Canadians and Americans using it." 1865?? Even the worst dictionary can give a better date than this! "PAPARAZZI. (...) Fellini had known a boy nicknamed Paparazzo (Mosquito) during his school days...." Fellini admitted, in an interview, that he got the name from a name in a George Gissing book. "HOT DOG. According to concessionaire Harry Stevens, who first served grilled franks on a split roll in about 1900, the franks were dubbed hot dogs by that prolific word inventor sports cartoonist T. A. Dorgan after he sampled them...." This is a feast for phrase detectives?? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------------------------------- P.O.T.U.S or P.U.S.? In "Word Improvisation" on page 120 of the October 1997 ATLANTIC MONTHLY, J. E. Lighter writes about "Taking Notice of POTUS." POTUS=President Of The United States, a term that started with Franklin D. Roosevelt. There is also FLOTUS=First Lady Of The United States. The cartoon shows Bill Clinton getting a POTUS tattoo on his chest. Wait! Isn't Bill Clinton a PUS? PUS (President of the United States) can be found on page 3, column 3 of The Enquirer (Richmond, VA), 1 December 1814. This is from the Enquirer, 28 January 1815, pg. 3, col. 5: We presume that the State Executive will not proceed to the appointment of the Field or other Officers under the late Law, until they have heard from the P.U.S. But why not try something completely different? Make up a new Gerrymander! I like POTUSOA (President Of The United States Of America). Like a PROTOZOA, it swims around on the issues! Why not? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------------------------------- ABSOLUTELY CRAZY, BIZARRE, INSANE HAPPENING OF THE WEEK My father died last March. Before that he'd been in a nursing home for five years. He'd been ill for twenty years. This week, John Hancock sent a letter that he's been approved for life insurance.