Thursday, January 31, 2008

Malaprops by Journalists

In Quill magazine, Paula LaRocque noted a handful of bloopers bouncing around the media world. All of them come from not really knowing what a word or expression truly means.

1) "honed in" -- as in the police honed in on a suspect. Oops -- to hone is to sharpen. They meant to say "homed in on."

2) without further "adieu" -- adieu means good-bye (literally, "to God"). They meant to say without further "ado," meaning fuss or bother.

3) "one of the only." Only, like "unique" means "one," so you can't be one of the one, just as you can't be a little bit unique. You should really say, "One of the few...."

4) "He cut off his nose despite his face." The expression is "to spite" his face.

5) Using "suspect" as a synonym for "suspicious" -- as in, "He learned to be more suspect of those who were misinforming him."

6) "She was at his beckon call." It's supposed to be "beck and call." Beck is an archaic verb referring to a mute signal or gesture, so the expresson means that a person will obey every command, even unspoken.

7) "It's a doggy-dog world." This may be true for Calvin Broadus (formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dog), but the expression should be "dog-eat-dog."

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