Some of our readers are addicted to etymology, and a goodly number have undoubtedly figured out ways to access the increasingly inaccessible Oxford English Dictionary. We are told that this resource is available in some mythical “on line” state, though here at SpecGram HQ we do not bother ourselves with such techno-
Anyway, the OED is wrong in many places, and it occurred to us that some readers of this space may be relying on it for its erroneous “etymology” of editorial. This is a deplorable state, leaving such victims completely untutored as to why editorials are so critical to modern life, and indeed, to the effectiveness of our journal. For these lamentably-
Although the correct answer is only moderately difficult to discern, the provenance of the modern word editorial has been surprisingly unsettled. Three candidate etymologies have been proposed, and are presented in (1)-(3):
Heated discussions among etymological experts have failed to settle the public dispute among these candidates. The minutes of the most recent conference on this subject may be distilled down to the following points in favor of (1), (2), and (3), respectively:
Proponents of (1) claim that SpecGram’s 34th Editorius Generalus, Edmundo del Mund, was perfunctory in the performance of his duties. His primary “contribution” to the editorial process was to agree with the comments of other editors, by means of circling on the page proofs those he wished to endorse. His strongest statement of said agreement was to add the comment “ditto” in the margin. In fact the legacy of his writings does not provide any evidence of a wider vocabulary; he may have been literally monolingual. Del Mund’s fellow editors frequently responded to his “ditto” insertions with the counter-
Come to think of it, (2) and (3) have nothing to recommend them. Proponents are purely deluded. We will not even waste enough space here to lend them the air of plausibility.
But (1) is wrong, too.
The truth, as is often true of scholarly publications, involves a hovercraft. In this case the hovercraft was full of editors
The editors in question, we would like to point out, had no connection with Speculative Grammarian. No, indeed. Rather, they are rumored to have been the editors of the National Enquirer.
Though we are not especially proud of this history, we nevertheless own it, because it is the truth. And we recommend to you, dear reader, that you read all future SpecGram editorials in the light of this truth.