Anna Gregoline | April 18, 2005
Would you take the fall for a crime committed by a sibling or parent?

Anna Gregoline | April 18, 2005
Is it scapegoat or scrapegoat? I never remember.

Erik Bates | April 18, 2005
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Scott Hardie | April 18, 2005
I often fix misspellings when they appear in discussion titles. But you like "Catholisizm" Anna, and I like "scrapegoat." :-)

Boring unhelpful answer: Depends on the crime and the perpetrator. The police said my fingerprints didn't match the partial finger in the chili bowl, so I guess my mom will have to find a different scrapegoat.

Erik Bates | April 18, 2005
[hidden by request]

Amy Austin | April 18, 2005
Y'all have no idea how much this mis-spelling made me laugh...

Anna Gregoline | April 18, 2005
Scrapegoat makes so much more sense to me that I spell this word wrong all the time. You get in a scrape, so you need a scrapegoat. What the heck is a scape, I think?

Aaron Shurtleff | April 18, 2005
If the parent/sibling was equally innocent as I am, and I had an overwhelming reason to do so (said parent/sibling was too sick to go to jail, etc.), definitely.

If the parent/sibling did the crime, I'd have to let them do the time. Heck, if I knew that my parent/sibling committed the crime, I'd personally turn them in!

Scott Hardie | April 18, 2005
Anna: Yeah, but you use the goat to "escape" blame. Then again, in Leviticus, it's the goat that escapes after being blamed. And that just makes no sense. Thus, Erik should not convert to Catholicism.

Amy Austin | April 18, 2005
It's just the kind of funny that reminds me of something my younger sister said to me when we were, like, 9 and 5... She was doing something (I don't remember) to irritate the crap out of me, and I must have yelled at her or otherwise displayed my anger, because she said to me (in a simultaneously petulant and earnest way), "Well, don't get tasty!" It took me a second to realize that she had meant "testy", and I cracked up. I've never let her forget it since, and whenever she gets irritated with me, I simply can't resist telling her not to get "tasty" about it. ;-D

Anna Gregoline | April 18, 2005
So why isn't it an "escapegoat?"

Cause that sounds too much like a bad vacation promotion?

Scott Hardie | April 18, 2005
I'm just waiting for some scandal involving President Bush and farm animals so that overeager bloggers can call it "Goatgate."

Amy Austin | April 18, 2005
Well, how about if he just decides to grow some really unpresidential facial hair... then they could call it "Goateegate"?

Kris Weberg | April 18, 2005
It actually was "escapegoat" once. There's a process for this in linguistics, where sometimes words lose letters over time. In French, lots of words have the little ^ symbol, called "accent circonflex." Basically, it means that a word lost a letter, usually "s."

Hence the French word "ho^tel" was once spelled "hostel," which is unsurprising, though in English we have both 'hostel" and "hotel."

The more prominent examples of this in English have to do with the loss of the "ae" symbol, another inheritance from French; or the ending "e" in words like "olde." However, it also happens a lot in slang -- "hip-hop," believe it or not, derives from a much older word, "hippety-hoppety," which no less a personage than Ezra Pound used in private correspondence sometimes to describe certain rhythmic effects in poetry, as he did in a 1930 letter to T.S. Eliot.

And to Scott -- in Leviticus, there are two goats, one that's burdened with the sins of the people, the other being sacrificed to God. But there's no word for the goat that's sacrificed -- maybe "sucker" -- so the meaning wound up with the term "(e)scapegoat" instead.

E. M. | April 19, 2005
[hidden by request]

Amy Austin | April 19, 2005
I can see that I'm not doing enough home schooling here. ;-)

Anna Gregoline | April 19, 2005
GOATEEGATE IS MY NEW FAVORITE SCANDAL!

Amy Austin | April 19, 2005
Okay, Anna, I give -- who grew the goat??? ;-D


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