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My thanks to all of the 24 respondents to my questions about the meaning of
the express, to vet. My manager, who originally posed the question to me,
was quite pleased with the results.
Here are a few of my favorites, which were posted to TECHWR-L:
I seem to recall this term being used in connection with stud books
(we're talking about the geneology of racehorses here, thank you) as
well, in the sense of verification of bloodline, and hence, by
extension, to the examination of human British males for their
potential as marriage material.
- Doug Montalbano
I first heard this "out of proper context" from Clinton's camp when he
was running for office. I attributed it to his collegiate background in
the UK. Perhaps it is a result of his discovery that national politics
is a dog-eat-dog world 8')
- Gary Mason
In my previous life, I worked in a government counterintelligence
agency. My understanding of "vetting" is: a quite, covert check into the
background of someone we wish to recruit as an agent or informant.
- Robert E. Allen
Well, believe it or not, the use of "to vet" in the sense of "check it out
and see if it is okay" comes from the world of horses (and to a lesser
degree, other animals). About the last thing one does when one is
contemplating the purchase of a rather expensive equine beastie is to have
the animal examined by a veterinarian (a "vet") for soundness, health, etc.
This has been called, since the first DVM escaped from a vet school,
"vetting." Words of disappointment to both buyer and seller: "Dobbin
didn't pass the vet."
- Sue Stewart
Nancy S. Burns
National Solar Observatory
e-mail: nburns -at- noao -dot- edu
"Writing a poem is taking over the 200-inch telescope carefully focused on
the galaxies born at the beginning of the universe and turning it to look
at a child eating mystery meat and string beans 300 miles away." from
"Incantation to Overcome Writer's Block, Maybe" by Lisa Yount.