It was often to settle a dispute about the correct usage or pronunciation of a word among family members that prided themselves on making the most of our glorious language.
The phrase was most often uttered by my father, and if the dictionary proffered did not agree with his stance, he insisted that the complete Oxford English Dictionary (a set of two volumes) be removed from its slipcase and examined with its included magnifying glass (I kid you not! In order for it to fit into two volumes, the print was MINISCULE!) for the definitive answer to the question at hand.
In our house we rely on Mr. Webster most of the time, but last weekend a dispute broke out that I feared would not end well.
It centered around the definition of one word.
Two members of our family had definitions for the word.
The two definitions were WORLDS apart.
Who was right?
The word? PORTMANTEAU
- A suitcase
- A word derived from combining two different words
So who was right?
They both were!
I wonder how such a word can have two such divergent definitions.... chortle.... (that's a portmanteau, by the way.... chuckle+snort)