Re: "Ms." or "Ms"?

Subject: Re: "Ms." or "Ms"?
From: Andreas Ramos <andreas -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 1994 12:54:51 -0800

> Elizabeth Vollbach wrote:
> > This may seem like a petty argument, I know, but, please, can someone
> > settle it? My coworker (Kevin the Antagonist) says it's "Ms." and so
> > does Webster's, which Kevin says is proof enough. But could Webster's
> > be wrong? I think it's "Ms" because, I think, "Ms" isn't an
> > abbreviation like "Mrs." Is there proof other than Webster's?

Binion Amerson replied:
> The Chicago Style Manual and Words Into Type both agree with
Webster's. "Ms." is correct. >

Don't yolu folks have dictionaries? I can understand it if its a
discussion of "in Texas we say "x"; but in California is it "x" "
But arguments, especially "we said this in our family, therefore you must
be wrong" are rather odd. My sister grew up saying "slickery" (that floor
is slickery"). (it makes sense: slippery + slick). But I know enough
etymology to know that there are dialectical and local variants.

As for tit vs teat vs tidbit: A fellow in Wales never heard "tit" to mean
"small." This only proves that he never heard the word in his circle of
friends. I knew British who said "tit" for "small". But this is only a "I
heard/you heard" argument. Let's get out the dictionaries.

"tit" *means* "small". (why does anyone think that a "tit" (as in
"nipple") is named a tit? Because it's small.) "tit" (as in "small") is
medieveal english and is the root of all small things:
titmouse, as in ANY small critter, incl. mice, birds, and whatnot.
titmouse, as in a type of bird, such as blue tit, coal tit, great tit,
long-tailed tit, or the marsh tit)
titman (a runt, or small person)
tittle-tattle (to chat about small things, incl. these discussions)
tit can be a small horse, a hussy (archaic).
It is also Scottish, meaning "to pull sharply"
There's also "I don't give a tit for that sort of business, etc."

All of this is from the Webster's 3rd International Dictiionary and the
American Heritage Dictionary.

I'd like to remark on the appearance of "tit" (as in nipple) in Wales.
I've always understood that "nipple" in British was "teat". If it is
being replaced by "tit", then apparently it is yet another word that is
invading British via TV, movies, and American editions of
Playboy/Penthouse. (the British, as do most countries which offer
Playboy/Penthouse, publish their own versions, with their own localized
words: e.g. "bum" instead of "ass", etc.)
It is regrettable that "tit" (as in small) has been wiped out of the
English langauge (or American, in any case) due to the specific meaning
of "nipple", which for Americans, is overly eroticized. I saw a restaurant
menu which, instead of "chicken breast", wrote "chicken bosom". I don't
now if it was political correctness or parody, but it depends on this
prudishness. Breast feeding in public would attract no atention in
Denmark or Germany, but in the USA, the riot police would come.

As for furhter abuses of the language: Yesterday, we saw a doorsign which,
instead of "Seeing Eye Dogs Permitted", wrote instead "Seeing Companions
Allowed". This is utterly ridiculous, in that neither the blind man or
the dog will be offended!

Andreas Ramos, M.A. Heidelberg Sacramento, California

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