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A good choice, sir, and I have to admit I'm occasionally guilty of the same thing. However, I do try to get out of the way of other people when I'm reading/sending texts.

Now if you'll forgive my directing your readers' attention to a different comic, today's Non Sequitur (http://www.uclick.com/client/wpc/nq/) that made me jab my fist in the air in glee. The editor/proofreader in me has been bothered by Danae's question for years. Also: ink pen, port wine. Any others?

Now I have to go out to buy some chicken bird for the jambalaya I'm making.

Mike Peterson

Non Sequitur made the short list (as it often does), but here's my purely speculative take: "Tuna" was first canned commercially at the start of the 20th century and it is said that the casual term for the fish up to that time was "horse mackerel" (apparently used generically for a range of similar fish) but the Italian name was applied because horse mackerel sounded low class.

So my guess is that "fish" was appended because Americans -- particularly inland -- weren't familiar with what "tuna" was. A century-and-ten-years later, it persists as a regionalism much as "soda pop" does.

My related problem is with people who say "Lima BEANS" instead of "LIMA beans." Putting stress on the first word says "there are many types of beans, these are the Lima type" while putting it on the second word suggests "there are many types of Lima vegetables, these are the bean type." Which is silly.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled topic.


Thank you. That does make sense--terms to tend to hang around for a while. And for the record, I always say LIMA beans, though I hardly ever eat the things.

And to carry us further off topic, someone once pointed out that you can get five different meanings from the sentence "Jane is a good girl," depending on which word is emphasized.


Six meanings, depending on whether or not you wink while saying the word "good"....

Mark in Boston

If you leave out the "fish" you could be talking about a piano tuna.

Actually I just checked in to note that the term "Couch Potato" was invented by a comic artist, but you all knew that anyway.


Naan bread (bread bread), haricot beans (bean beans), salsa sauce - one more I can't think of at the moment :รพ

Danny Boy (London Derriere)

"Ink pen" is quite useful for those whose language community tends to merge the vowels of "pin" and "pen". Makes it clear you don't mean a pin of any kind.

Mike Peterson

It also matches up with "ink brush," a separate implement used for many of the same tasks. It's like paintbrush and paint roller.

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