Friday, August 15, 2014


Trough and Trove

James Bamford, "The Most Wanted Man in the World," Wired (August 2014), chapter 2:
Some have even raised doubts about whether the infamous revelation that the NSA was tapping German chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone, long attributed to Snowden, came from his trough.
Is trough here a mistake for trove, i.e. treasure-trove? A prescriptivist might say yes, a descriptivist no. One can find printed examples of treasure-trough as far back as the nineteenth century, although dictionaries don't seem to recognize the phrase. Trough and trove are etymologically unrelated. The issue is complicated by the fact that trough can mean container or box. In my opinion, Bamford committed a solecism. If I had written such a sentence, I'd want an editor to correct it.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?