Archive for May 31st, 2013

May 31, 2013


howler is a glaring blunder, typically an amusing one. Eric Partridge’s ‘A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English’ (1951) defined it in part as: ‘… A glaring (and amusing) blunder: from before 1890; … also, a tremendous lie … Literally something that howls or cries for notice, or perhaps … by way of contracting howling blunder.’ Another common interpretation of this usage is that a howler is a mistake fit to make one howl with laughter.

All over the world, probably in all natural languages, there are many informal terms for blunders; the English term ‘howler’ occurs in many translating dictionaries. There are other colloquial English words for howler, in particular the mainly United States and Canadian slang term ‘boner’ which has various interpretations, including that of blunder. Like howler, boner can be used in any sense to mean an ignominious and usually laughable blunder, and also like howler, it has been used in the titles of published collections of largely schoolboy blunders since at least the 1930s.

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May 31, 2013

Kathryn Schulz

being wrong

Kathryn Schulz is an American journalist and author, and the book critic for ‘New York’ magazine. She also wrote ‘The Wrong Stuff,’ a blog on ‘Slate,’ and contributes to the ‘Freakonomics blog’ at ‘The New York Times.’ Schulz began her career in journalism writing for the now-defunct ‘Feed Magazine,’ one of the earliest online magazines. From 2001 to 2006, she was the editor of the online environmental magazine ‘Grist.’

Before that, she was a reporter and editor for ‘The Santiago Times,’ of Santiago, Chile, where she covered environmental, labor, and human rights issues. She was a 2004 recipient of the Pew Fellowship in International Journalism (now the International Reporting Project), and has reported from throughout Central and South America, Japan and the Middle East. Schulz is a graduate of Brown University. Schulz was born and raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and currently resides in New York state.