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September 30, 2007

Can I use the word "schlep" in a paper?

Yes. If the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post use it, then you can, too.

Two weeks ago, New York Times' writer William Safire did an in-depth study of the word "schlep" in his On Language column in the newspaper's Sunday Magazine.

He explains the two accepted definitions of the word and some that are unacceptable. The verb of schlep is to drag, haul or lug, normally involving weariness works. The noun form of the word is a pull, drag or jerk doesn't work so well.

The parts of the article that I like the most are when he talks about the word schmooze (obvi) and when he quotes James Joyce as one of the earliest references of schlep in English (derived from the Yiddish).

After reading this article, I am also a huge fan of lexicographer Sol Steinmetz (I'm going to go buy his lexicographer rookie card). He is a fervent believe that shlep — just like shmooze — should not be spelled with a "c."

Posted by irobi at September 30, 2007 07:06 PM

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