Thursday, September 28

In the "i" of the Beholder

I enjoyed this post by the Fabulous Dooce on dating walking red flags and knowing what your deal breakers are. Her readers were most eager to share their horror stories of what made them run screaming from the burning building. Since she asked the question, I thought I should oblige, which set me to pondering.

What I discovered was my red flags were a bit more subtle than that of other readers. Sure, being kind to animals and waitstaff is important and I prefer my dates not to have back or chest hair, but for me the BIGGY is...can they pronounce the word MISCHIEVOUS correctly. This has been a bit of a personal crusade for many years. I love the way they sound...the way they form in the mouth and roll off the tongue and I think words deserve to be treated with enough respect to pronounce them correctly. Mischievous has taken a beating over the years. The average Joe/Jonelle pronounces it miss chee vee us, which I blame entirely on Madison Avenue, who has intentionally misrepresented it in print, television and radio ads for years. My biggest fear is the creators of dictionaries will throw up their hands in defeat, cave to the populace and change the spelling and pronunciation to MISCHIEVIOUS. I was crafting a rather witty comment to add to Dooce's post, I thought I would take this opportunity to include a public service message by inserting a link to the Merriam Webster website where they not only define the word, but provide an audio pronunciation.

Imagine my utter disbelief, quickly followed by dismay when I realized that my trusty Merriam Webster site was now including both spellings and pronunciations on their website. MY WORST FEARS WERE BEING REALIZED. Then, I read further down the page and apparently, this variation (mischievious) dates back to the 16th Century...that would be for more than 500 years!

I was wrong and stand corrected, eyes downcast looking sheepishly at my shoes.

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