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Birth of the boos 

I can remember when fans didn't boo at Razorback games, or at college games generally. That's changed obviously, and it started me wondering about, among other things, where the word boo comes from. As an expression of disapproval or contempt, it apparently showed up in baseball in the 1890s, when baseball was the number one sport. But explanations of the origin are rare and vague. One source suggests it may have come from the Spanish slang branca. That would be some coincidence. The Brooklyn Dodger pitcher Ralph Branca heard an explosion of boos when he threw a pitch that cost his team the pennant in 1951.

"A little digging turned up an address in the York Avenue mixed-used development."

It's mixed and it's used, eh? Most neighborhoods are used for something, some for one purpose only — a residential neighborhood — some for more than one, as a dental office/tattoo parlor neighborhood. Whatever, it's a mixed-use neighborhood, not mixed-used.

"She swore like a trouper."

In these permissive times, I suspect there's not much difference between the conversation of troupers and troopers. But for the record, the old saying was "swore like a trooper." A trouper is a member of an entertainment group, such as an acting troupe. A trooper is a soldier, or (in the U.S.) a member of a state police unit. Troupers were known for carrying on with the show, no matter what. Troopers were the champions of swearing.

"That 1938 show, enjoying a reprisal this year on its 75th anniversary, was loaded with images that seemed to 'float up from the depths of America's collective unconscious.' "

As one who has experienced reprisals, for some of these columns (Mike Tyson was particularly upset after I corrected his use of that and which), I can attest that reprisals are not usually enjoyable. A reprisal is an act of retaliation. When Batman punches out the Joker, it's a reprisal, and well-deserved, too. A reprise is a repetition of a performance, or role, or — in this case — exhibition, presumably because the original was deemed pleasing.

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  • The L word and the C word

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    • May 1, 2014
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