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“ ‘He said he fought with the victim, tied a sheet around her neck and dragged her to the bathroom and hung her from the shower rod,’ the prosecutor said. ‘This is an exceptionally egregious case.’ ”
It’s egregious all right, but the “exceptionally” is redundant. Egregious means “exceptionally bad.” At one time, egregious meant only “exceptional,” and could be applied to something good as well as something bad. Now, it’s used only in a pejorative way.
Some would call the use of hung egregious. They contend that the right word is hanged. But Random House says:
“Hang has two forms for the past tense and past participle, hanged and hung. The historically older form hanged is now used exclusively in the sense of causing or putting to death: He was sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead. In the sense of legal execution, hung is also quite common and is standard in all types of speech and writing except in legal documents. When legal execution is not meant, hung has become the more frequent form: The prisoner hung himself in his cell.”
Ken Parker writes:
“When I worked for Georgia-Pacific at Crossett, they uncovered a supply of metal tokens that the Crossett Lumber Company had used to pay its employees. The employees would trade these for merchandise at the company store. I understand the use of such tokens was common in the company towns established by the timber companies. The tokens were called ‘brozine,’ although that may not be the correct spelling. The word is pronounced bro-ZEEN. Have you ever encountered it?”
Yes, but I don’t know the correct spelling either. At one time, state prison inmates earned metal tokens that they traded for goods at the prison store. Dina Tyler of the state Department of Correction says the Department displays some of these tokens in a prison museum. The prison spelling was always brozene, she says. The prisons’ use of brozine/brozene ended in 1978, when they began using scrip, a paper currency. Then sometime in the ’80s, the Department of Correction established a computerized banking system for inmates. They now have bank accounts, of a sort.
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