This reminded Rosie of an article in the 2001 collection of essays from the newsletter Verbatim. Here, Laurence Urdang listed "first names that by association have acquired special connotations." Among these he included:
Jane: 1) any female. 2) plain Jane, any unattractive female.
Mary Jane: marijuana
Patsy: sucker, dupe
Reuben: sandwich of hot corned beef
Tom, Dick, and Harry: just about anybody. (Rosie's note: Could this be derived from Virginia's own Byrd brothers?)
In the book "Verbatim" the late Joseph Bryan III of Richmond wrote an "Epistolate" to Urdang's list He added 27 words, among them:
Jasper: a hick or rube
Jezebel: a loose woman
Louis: a French coin
Victor: a winner
Xanthippe: a termagant or shrew
CNN's frequent announcement that its reporters will give us the "very latest" on any story. I wonder what advantage the very confers on the promise.
Again from "Verbatim," this time in an essay about pleonasms (unnecessary repetitions) by Harold J. Ellner.
"He'll try a 44-yard field-goal attempt."
"The male prostate gland."
From this week's column, it's easy to tell what Rosie has been reading. "Verbatim" is an amusing book designed to please almost any word-lover.
Let Rosie hear from you by mail (1707 Summit Ave., Suite 201, Richmond, Va. 23230) by telephone (804-358-0825, ext 322); or by e-mail (email@example.com).
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