Friday, May 7, 2010
How Do You Spell Priss?
I knew spell check didn't know all the words but I didn't know it had no soul until earlier this week. Imagine my surprise when it did not recognize priss, as in, "Lou Anne prissed away. She was known for her prissing."
What? Priss is one of the best words in the English language. They wanted me to use pressed and pressing. Not even close. Not only that but, while my online dictionary recognizes prissy, it does not like priss or its variants so much. How can you be prissy if you can't priss? I also consulted the 1961 edition of Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary, International Edition, Volume 2, Lobate-Z. (It was handy. I put my feet on it while at my desk to keep my legs from going to sleep.) Same result. It liked prissy but nothing else.
I can understand why it might not be in the thesaurus, as it knows no peer. I discussed this very matter with Oldest Friend and Plotter. Oldest Friend suggested that sashay might a synonym for priss, but I say no. Sashay is kind of a lazy sexy saunter. Prissing is all about attitude. In the end, she agreed, as did Plotter.
Everybody knows what it means. Several years ago, I happened to be complaining to one of the Grand Dames of my small town that I had been summoned for federal jury duty at the same time I had a vacation to Puerto Rico planned. The Guy had spent a fortune on scuba lessons and gear and we had some plane tickets. She regaled me with the story of how she got out of jury duty once. It had nothing to do with my situation, but I enjoyed it, nonetheless. It was something about her daddy going to prep school with the judge. (I can assure you that, of all the things my daddy did, going to prep school was not one of them.) Anyway, she ended with saying, "If I were you, I'd priss myself down to that Federal Courthouse in Birmingham and have a talk with them."
Well, I did not priss myself down there. At the time, I was too busy working full time and running the Junior League. But we both knew what she meant and we didn't need a dictionary to help us out with it.
I hate loose ends so, for those of you who might wonder, I did write a letter, photocopy my reservations, and priss myself to the post office to mail it. I did not have to go to jury duty until a year later. But that's another blog.
We've all been surprised by spell check. What's your story?
And, if you have no spell check story (or even if you do), feel free to comment anyway. Maybe you've got a prissing story.