Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bits of Tid

  • George Stephanopoulos was never the White House press secretary, though he did handle many of the traditional duties of the job when Dee Dee Myers held the title under President Clinton. Note also that it's -poulos, not -polous.

  • Price club is not a generic term for a members-only warehouse store that specializes in volume discounting. Price Club was a pioneer in that retailing genre founded by a man named Sol Price. Its stores took the Costco name after a merger in the early 1990s.

  • It's risk-averse, not risk-adverse.

  • The term button-down shirt properly refers to a dress shirt with buttons to hold down the collar flaps, not a shirt with buttons down the front. Because there isn't really a good term for the latter, though, this is a distinction that is rapidly being lost.

  • 8 comments:

    Peter said...

    Not to cavil or anything, but I thought a shirt with buttons down the front was merely a shirt, or perhaps a dress shirt. Then you added variations, such as polo or golf shirt, hawaiian shirt, T-shirt, turtleneck or what-have-you.

    Bill said...

    I'm not well versed in garment history. If all shirts were once of the variety that we now somewhat erroneously call "button-down," then the idea of finding a term for such a shirt would fall into the "retronym" category, but I'm guessing that tunics without buttons came first.

    ReluctantLeftist said...

    I'd be tempted to refer to a shirt with buttons down the front as either a "dress shirt" or a "button-up shirt". Some Googling of the latter expression seems to indicate I'm not the only one who uses "button-up" in that way.

    In fact, perhaps "button-up shirt" is more general than "dress shirt" -- a garment with the former name could have short sleeves.

    Craig said...

    I've always called them "button-front" shirts. For whatever that's worth.

    Sassan Sanei said...

    I too use "button-up shirt" to describe a dress shirt with buttons on the front; I use "button-down collar" to describe a collar with buttons. I've never seen "button-down shirt" or "button-up collar."

    Bill said...

    "Button-down shirt" outnumbers "button-up" shirt by slightly more than 4 to 1 in a database search, and "button-up" appears largely in Canadian and Australian publications.

    Stephen Jones said...

    Dress shirt appears to be the curremt term to describe what used to be called a shirt.

    Button-down refers to the collar, as opposed to a butterfly or wing collar.

    Kuan Yin said...

    Do you take requests for tidbits? Is it "high-heel shoes" or "high-heeled shoes"? I guess both make sense . . .