Friday, 16 January 2009

Nature pooh-poohs?

Readers, did you know that 'pooh-pooh' was a legitimate word? I didn’t, and was completely shocked to read the word nonchalantly used (see below) in an article (Squint of the fossil flatfish) in the prominent science journal ‘Nature’.

"On occasion, this property has been pooh-poohed, even by palaeontologists who have considered that fossils can help in refining relationships already inferred from living species, but tell us little about the process of evolutionary character transformation."

Sure, I was aware of the term ‘poo-poo’ meaning faeces but not ‘pooh-pooh’?!?! When did pooh-pooh become a word? The definition of ‘pooh-pooh’ is ‘to express disdain or contempt for’ or ‘dismiss lightly’.

Can anyone empathise with me? Please let me know whether you knew 'pooh-pooh' was a word by participating in the poll on the RHS panel near the top of the page.

(1) Janvier P (2008) Squint of the fossil flatfish. Nature. 454. p169-170.
(3) Image:

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