Archive for November 2nd, 2010

November 2, 2010

Above board

This does not look above the board! © Dreamstime.com Agency | Dreamstime.com

For once an American idiom that has nothing to do with sports: above board.  This expression means that something is done legally, honestly, straightforward, and without trickery or cheating.  The roots are somewhat obscure, some believe it goes back to ships and seafaring but the best explanation I have read is that it has to do with gambling: a gambler whose hands are above the table at all times can’t cheat and play tricks like changing cards.

This expression is mainly used in business and less in casual non-business type settings.  It is used in contexts like: “The company claims that all their business is strictly above board and that the investigators would not find any signs of fraud.”

or “He is such an above the board guy, I just can’t imagine he cheated his company out of millions.”

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November 2, 2010

Let’s Prioritize

The spelling is different, the concept is the same

In the US you prioritize, sympathize, analyze, you realize and organize whereas in England you might do all of the same things but they end up looking different: you priortise, symphatise, analyse, realise and organise.  A US spell checker on your computer will draw red squiggly lines under all your -ise words.  We don’t accept those here in the US.   Apparently the Brits are more flexible and do let you get away with the -ize forms, in fact that’s what the Oxford dictionary uses.

As often, the Australians and New Zealanders follow the British rules and so they also prefer prioritisation over prioritization.  The EU also uses the -ise forms.

It’s no big deal, really, as the words are readily understood whether they have a z or an s in it.  It’s just one of those things that cause confusion at times and so I thought I clear it up.