The Press: Mimosa, Moonbeams & Memory

On a newscast over Houston station KPRC in 1936, Commentator Frank Colby mentioned the Dionne "KWIN-tyoo-plits." Listeners barraged him with protests; they said that the correct pronunciation was kwin-TUH-plits or kwinTOO-plits. After Colby had cited Webster to prove that his pronunciation was preferred, he decided to start a column in the Houston Chronicle about words, their pronunciation and derivation. It was such a success that Colby settled down full-time to writing a daily column, "Take My Word for It," now syndicated in 600 newspapers.

While most of the words that Colby discusses are suggested by his readers, Colby turned the tables in...

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