What's in a Word | All Blogs


Was Tulo crying?

By Debra Dobbins

When I scan a headline, I usually get a quick summary of a story. I couldn’t do that today with Tulo’s Tear.

That is because tear can mean a water drop in one’s eye, or it can mean a rip. (The first sounds like “teer” and the second like “tare.”) So, was Tulo crying with happiness? Looking at the photos, I decided he was happy, but not enough to turn on the waterworks.

That left the meaning of rip, which did not make sense, either. Then I remembered that English has many idioms, expressions that are peculiar to a particular language. Our idioms may not make sense to a Russian, and vice versa.

The idiom “on a tear” means to be on a streak, or a continual movement. It’s pronounced “on a tare.” I decided to read the story on Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies to check my theory out.

Sure enough, certain words and phrases backed that theory up: “on pace,” “leading contender,” and finally the actual phrase “on a tear” that appeared toward the end of the article.

So, this was one headline that made me work a little bit, but that’s OK. While I think I’m a proficient reader, I still often must use decoding skills to decipher something in print. The effort is always worthwhile.

With a new grandson, I’d better start polishing up my pitching skills. That effort will be worthwhile, too.


 

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