Thursday, December 18, 2008

My new favorite word

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the transitive verb scupper means "to defeat or put an end to." Its etymology is unknown, but it's used mainly in British English, and it seems to have been born at the end of the 19th century. James Wood used it recently in The New Yorker, and it caught my eye:
The book’s form is a solid delight of symmetry and repetition. Just as April’s first pregnancy scuppered the original European escape (but didn’t really, because Frank never intended to go), so her third scuppers the later one (but doesn’t really, either, for the same reason).
And while we're on the subject of favorites, here's a charming musical interlude from Elf, featuring my new favorite winter song:

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