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Reg English stoned to death

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HP ad blamed for Birmingham rock throwers

Kit Powell's been at the dictionary again:

At the risk of being mocked as a little-Englisher, could I please ask you to consider using British, rather than US, English? A rock is something on which you found churches and ships wreck. What you throw at trams is a stone.

This is, I expect, another US usage arising from their prudishness (that brought us "rooster" instead of "cock"), so that they use "rock" and "pit" instead of "stone", which (as the OED entry below points out) has more than one meaning:

11. a. A testicle: chiefly in pl. Obs. exc. in vulgar use. (See also BALLOCK-stone.)

1154 O.E. Chron. an. 1124 ad fin., Six men spilde of here æon & of here stanes. 1387 TREVISA Higden (Rolls) IV. 289 e rotynge of his priue stones. a1450 Knt. de la Tour 71 They toke a knyff, and cutte awey the monkes stones. 1542 BOORDE Dyetary xviii. (1870) 277 The stones of a cockrell, & the stones of other beestes that hath not done theyr kynde, be nutrytyue. 1617 MORYSON Itin. I. 163 The Toscanes hold Rammes stones fried for a great daintie. 1668 CULPEPER & COLE Barthol. Anat. Introd., The action of the Liver is blood-making, of the Stones, Seed-making. 1713 J. WARDER True Amazons 10 In the very shape of the Stones of a Lamb.

(I am glad to say that I haven't see "Rammes stones fried" on the menu of any of the trattorie that I frequent, though I suppose that a larger Italian vocabulary than I possess might be needed to spot them between the penne all'arrabbiata and the torta della nonna. The memory lingers with me still of ordering stufato di asinello on the basis that any old stew was all right, and being told on its arrival, when I asked what the meat was, "Ees leetle donkey". And I couldn't get the damned tune out of my head for days.)

Well done Kit - you rock.

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