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Wednesday, October 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

Quasqui- what? No, we didn’t make that up

A few people have called or e-mailed to accuse the newspaper of making up quasquicentennial as a word to mean 125 year anniversary in this morning's story about Washington's birthday celebration.

To which we would say, truthfully, we're not that smart.

It's a real word, if somewhat limited in use. You could look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls, as they used to say on "Laugh-In". Which would be a good place to start because Dr. Wilfred Funk did make up the word back in 1961 when someone wrote to ask what would be the proper term to call the town's 125th anniversary.

Funk  based it on two Latin words that meant "plus a fourth", squishing them together as two Latin words had been contracted in sesquicentennial, which is a 150th anniversary. 

This comes from Robert Chapman's "American Speech". It's amazing what you can find on the Internet in among all those cat videos.




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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