Advertisement

Bloviations, Cont.

February 16, 1992

Your readers are perhaps too erudite (or is it recondite?) for your columnists. Fred Scifers (Letters, Jan. 5) reads Richard Eder, doesn't recognize bloviate , reaches for the Oxford English Dictionary, doesn't find the word, and writes to you in dismay.

If he'd merely tried Merriam-Webster's Third Unabridged, he'd have found the word, defined "to orate verbosely and windily," and the etymology ("prob. irreg. fr. blow + -i- + ate") but regrettably (because Webster's 3, for all its virtues, isn't as comprehensive as the OED), no example of its usage.

That great gasbag, Warren G. Harding, once proclaimed, "I love to go out into the country and bloviate." The only person in America at the time who was probably paying attention to Harding's mangling of the language was H. L. Mencken.

LAWRENCE S. DIETZ

SANTA MONICA

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|