One of my authors was dismayed, recently, when he got a disturbing letter from a young reader who took his book back to the bookstore without finishing it because we (the author, his publisher, and me, his editor) had used the word gosh. The letter came complete with a photocopy of the page in Webster’s where this “not so nice” word is defined.
Naturally I went right to my fave dictionary. Seriously, I had no idea gosh was a “euphemism for God” but we have to read further. That’s not the current definition, it’s the etymology of the word (which means that back in 1757, when the word first appeared in print, it was a euphemism for God). I assure you when I use the word gosh, I use it in the defined sense: “used as a mild oath or to express surprise.”
As did, you know, Napoleon Dynamite. (Not that he’s an ideal role model, mind you.) And publishing expert Mike Hyatt, who earlier this year tweeted, “Oh my gosh! I just got my picture taken with the President.” Just havin’ a little fun, people. One assumes the mother of our letter writer never dressed him in OshKosh B’Gosh. Ahem.
I don’t mean to offend. But neither did my author. Language is constantly evolving. And in my humble opinion, if you go looking to find fault … well, you usually can.
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