Thumbs Down (Not Hands Down) On ‘Meddling’

Many thanks to all those who helped entertain and inform the Traveling Memmotts as they put 3,200 miles on the odometer the past two weeks. We didn’t listen to the news every hour (sorry, Korva). But when we did, it was a pleasure to hear your voices and the stories you told.

But — there’s always a “but” — one word that came up a few times didn’t feel quite right: “meddling.” As in “Russian meddling in the 2016 election.” I could imagine George Carlin doing a riff on how soft that sounds. As the Washington Desk advises, meddling is something your nosy neighbor does — not a rival (enemy?) nation that’s trying to sway the results of the U.S. election.

“Interference” is a word that works.

Meanwhile, today’s news has raised the question of whether it’s correct to say an indictment has been “handed down” or “handed up.” You’ll hear it both ways, but there’s a case to be made that indictments are handed “up” to the bench, while verdicts are handed “down.” As often is the case, the best way to go is probably to avoid either phrase. How about “issued?”

(“Memmos;” Oct. 30, 2017)

October 30, 2017

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