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Words, June 10

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Gordon Fisher writes concerning our May 20 discussion of knuckleheads:

"As I recall, it was a frequent term used on the 3 Stooges, who were at their peak in the late 30's and early 40's. I'm not sure whether they invented it, but I wouldn't be surprised."

The overbearing Moe was the one who said it most, I'll bet. As in, "Spread out, you knuckleheads."

The April 29 seminar on bar/borrow/barrow pits drew a comment from Wayne Boyce:

"Here is my bit to the Bar Pit confusion. The most likely derivation is from 'bear,' meaning to carry something. In this context, it connotes 'carry away.' The earth has been carried away, thus creating the pit. A wheelbarrow might be used to create a 'Bar Pit.' This illustration gains credence when one remembers that in local speech the cart with one wheel and two handles is frequently pronounced 'wheelbar.' "

Mike Wilson found a new verb in the Arkansas Times, of all places:

"The UA Board of Trustees bonused him $225,000 in deferred compensation."

If they asked him to take more responsibility, I guess you'd say they onused him.

Ray White waxes wroth (and that wroth needed a good waxing):

"I hate it when, as they did tonight after wind damaged Greers Ferry Lake properties, the TV newscasters fall all over themselves to make the point that despite the damage, it wasn't a tornado but 'straight-line winds.' Why not just say high winds? Straight-line winds is probably less descriptive than simply saying high winds. Those winds probably weren't all that straight. . . . If they wanted to be accurate they could call it a 'downburst,' which is the actual name of the phenomenon of very cold air suddenly dropping, hitting the ground and spreading out in all directions as damaging winds, or a 'gust front,' the name for high winds in front of a thunderstorm."

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