H.L. Mencken > The American Language > Subject Index > Page 125
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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956).  The American Language.  1921.

Page 125
 
rates, but at lineage rates. A printing press is a machine. An editorial in a newspaper is a leading article or leader. An editorial paragraph is a leaderette, or par. A newspaper clipping is a cutting. A pass to the theatre is an order. The room-clerk of a hotel is the secretary. A real-estate agent or dealer is an estate-agent. The English keep up most of the old distinctions between physicians and surgeons, barristers and solicitors. A barrister is greatly superior to a solicitor. He alone can address the higher courts and the parliamentary committees; a solicitor must keep to office work and the inferior courts. A man with a grievance goes first to his solicitor, who then instructs or briefs a barrister for him. If that barrister, in the course of the trial, wants certain evidence removed from the record, he moves that it be struck out, not stricken out, as an American lawyer would say. Only barristers may become judges. An English barrister, like his American brother, takes a retainer when he is engaged. But the rest of his fee does not wait upon the termination of the case: he expects and receives a refresher from time to time. A barrister is never admitted to the bar, but is always called. If he becomes a King’s Counsel, or K. C. (a purely honorary appointment), he is said to have taken silk. In the United States a lawyer tries a case and the judge hears it; in England the judge tries it. In the United States the court hands down a decision; in England the court hands it out. In the United States a lawyer probates a will; in England he proves it, or has it admitted to probate.
  The common objects and phenomena of nature are often differently named in England and America. As we saw in a previous chapter, such Americanisms as creek and run, for small streams, are practically unknown in England, and the English moor and downs early disappeared from American. The Englishman knows the meaning of sound (e. g., Long Island Sound), but he nearly always uses channel in place of it. In the same way the American knows the meaning of the English bog, but rejects the English distinction between it and swamp, and almost always uses swamp or marsh (often elided to ma’sh). The Englishman seldom, if ever, describes a severe storm as a hurricane, a cyclone, a tornado, or a blizzard. He never uses cold-snap, cloudburst or under the weather.

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