Favorite

“Northwest homes darkened by ice storm; rivers bust banks.”

Can rivers bust their banks? Not according to Merriam-Webster Online, which lists bust as a noun only: “A sculptured representation of the upper part of the human figure including the head and neck and usually part of the shoulders and breast” and “The upper part of the human torso between neck and waist, especially the breasts of a woman.” The entry then drifts off into Google ads for “Herbal Breast Enlargement” and similar potions.

Other authorities, more comprehensive and more flexible, say that while the use of bust for the verb burst is nonstandard, it’s recognized as informal or dialectal. That means it’s generally accepted in speech and in some writing. It probably should be avoided in Supreme Court decisions and United Nations treaties. And some people, out of respect for old English teachers, will avoid it entirely.

“A boy enlists tiny rebels in this cautionary tale about the dangers of imminent domain.”

John Wesley Hall Jr. writes: “Imminent domain always makes me think there is about to be a coronation of a new king.”

Kelley Bass saw a newspaper article that quoted an angry father as saying “It got under my craw.” Bass writes: “From experience, I know a guy can get something stuck in his craw, and I know things can get under one’s skin. But I’d never heard of anything getting under someone’s craw. Have you?”

Only when the craw was positioned unusually high. But no, that’s a frivolous answer and we’ll never make our sales quota being frivolous. Bass is right. In normal usage, a thing gets under one’s skin or stuck in one’s craw, and the two should not be mixed. “I didn’t mind when the quarterback left the team, but when he punted a Hog Hat, it really stuck in my craw.”

Craw in this case is another word for crop — “a pouch in the esophagus of many birds, in which food is held for later digestion or for regurgitation to nestlings.”

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

  |  

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

More by Max Brantley

Most Shared

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31  

Most Viewed

  • Money talks

    Democratic candidates face a dilemma in Arkansas. To take on the GOP members who are firmly entrenched in the state Legislature and Congress, they will need lots of money and lots of votes. The easiest way to get more votes is to spend more money. Obscene amounts of money. And thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and President Trump's judicial appointments, this will be our reality for a long time. The six Republicans who make up our congressional delegation have stopped pretending to care about their constituents. They vote in line with the interests of big corporations and lobbyists. They know what side their bread is buttered on.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Gratitude

    • Thanks for the information about the rally Saturday.

    • on December 15, 2017
  • Re: Money talks

    • I understand what you are saying about money, but there are always exceptions and a…

    • on December 15, 2017
  • Re: A difference

    • History is likely to move with light speed in concluding that in late 2017 society…

    • on December 14, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation