Saturday, February 28, 2004
A "Scary" Quest for You!
I want to know the origin of the term "scare-quotes." Why? Are they scary? Why are they called that?
This is what I've come up with so far, from googling:
Someone had the same question as I did, but the discussion seems to have petered out unprofitably.
Similarly, here, too, was a discussion on the origin of the term, which quickly became a discussion of the usefulness, relevance, or propriety of the scare-quotes themselves.
The OED had no entry for scare-quotes, but luckily Wikipedia did . (Wikipedia is god, most of the time).
This article discourages them, whereas this article simply discusses whether they should have one stroke (') or two (").
The closest I came to an actual answer was this article on Suck.com, which stated:
"Yet the term isn't mentioned in The New York Times' heavy-duty instruction manual, nor in The Washington Post Deskbook on Style; not in the slim volume the Associated Press puts out or The Chicago Manual of Style or any of the various MLA guides. Even dictionaries ignore it. Neither Webster's nor Random House admits the term into its pages, although Random House tells us that a "scarehead" is "a headline in exceptionally large type" and that it's also known as a "screamer." It dates from around 1885, and it's good to at least find out that "scarehead" and "screamer" are synonyms. In no volume of the Barnhart Dictionary Companion — an instrument so thorough it sees fit to include not only "soccer mom" but "soccer dad" — do we find an entry for "scare quotes." Only online at dictionary.com and dict.org, products of Princeton University's WorldNet, can a definition for "scare quote" — singular — be found: A scare quote is the use of quotation marks to indicate that it is not the author's preferred terminology."
If any of you find the answer, I'll tell you why Rhode Island.
happy birthday heather.
and i hear melanie has wicked amazing news. congratulations!! (not that any little birds told me what it was)
jane 12:07 AM [+]