Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Thursday, January 02, 2003  

Do you give someone a meggie or a meggy?

For me it's meggie, my way of spelling the word that describes that ultimate in childhood insults, delivered by the victor when you had lost an argument, or delivered when you had done something colossally stupid, or delivered simply just to annoy you (there is nothing so annoying as being megged for the hell of it). The fingers are stretched out and bunched together, forming an elongated, duckbill-like gesture and accompanied by the gleeful cry of "Meggie!", the double-blow signalling to all around that insult had been crushingly delivered upon injury.

But is the definitive spelling meggie or meggy? The issue arises as today the Trinidad Guardian announced its Golden Meggie Awards for 2002, the paper's honours to personalities who made all year silly season in local journalism. The headline of the feature says meggy; throughout the piece it's meggie. Was this the Solomon-like decision the features editor made to please the multitiude of writers who contributed to the article and were divided on the word's spelling, or (what is more likely) was it just a snafu? (Remember that Sunday Guardian front page lead story on the Vidya/Vidia Naipaul library?)

Anyway, I consulted my two usual references in such situations, the Oxford Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage and T&T's own trusty Cote ce Cote la, the latter more often than not having the final say on the accepted spelling of local words.

No luck. The word appears in neither book. I took a straw poll in the office; most people seem to think meggy is the way to go. I still say meggie, but like hippie (which is also spelled hippy) I suppose either will do. What matters really is consistency, something I wish they'd look at more closely over at the Guardian. Today, the meggie's on them.

posted by Jonathan | 1:33 PM 0 comments


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