Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

miércoles, julio 06, 2011

Italics, Part Deux

Forgive my utter glee at this. I just love it when I’m right. Demonstrating to my complete satisfaction that yesterday’s rant about unnecessary italics was justified, I received an email from our friends at the Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford English Dictionary, you will recall, is THE source of what’s in the language (and correspondingly, what isn’t), or as they say, “the definitive record of the English language.” I am delighted to read this. I bet you will be also.

Your word for today is: bupkis, n.
bupkis, n
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈbʌpkᵻs/, /ˈbʊbkᵻs/, U.S. /ˈbəpkᵻs/, /ˈbʊbkᵻs/
Forms: 19– bobkes, 19– bobkis, 19– bopkes, 19– bopkus, 19– bubkes, 19– bubkess, 19– bubkis, 19– bubkiss, 19– bupkes, 19– bupkis, 19– bupkiss, 19– bupkus.

Etymology: Yiddish bobkes nonsense, rubbish, nothing, of uncertain origin.
N. Amer. slang (orig. in Jewish usage).
Absolutely nothing, nil.

1937 E. Rice Imperial City 67 The Wall Street goyim like 'em skinny‥. Do you know what you'll get for dinner?‥ A green pea with some bees'-knees a la bupkis hiding underneath it.
1942 A. J. Liebling Telephone Booth Indian 60 The best you can get there‥is a chance to work Saturday night at a ruptured saloon for bupkis.
1974 M. Torgov Good Place to Come From 147 She comes in, I give her twenty off automatically. I'd like to see her get that discount at Eaton's. Bupkes Eaton's'll give her off.
1987 J. B. Stine Spaceballs xxi. 109 Forget the ring. The ring is bupkis.
2006 New Yorker 16 Jan. 34/1 We came up with bubkes.

So put another way, it’s not bupkis, it’s bupkis. And here’s proof that all of those smart people who were thinking (admit it, I know you were thinking it, as was J.B. Stine in 1987) that this word was Yiddish and should hence be italicized, were, to be precise, simplemente incorrecto.


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