It's Not a Hone Run, Either

Mark W. Freeman, who writes his newspaper column as the Washington Country Curmudgeon (see Wangle/Wrangle) e-mailed to depose as follows:

“I deplore the use of ‘hone’ for ‘home,’ as in ‘the critic was honing in on his target.’ What I deplore even more is the tendency of dictionaries to accept usages such as this on the ground that ‘lots of people make this mistake.’ Lots of people say ‘chimbly’ for ‘chimney,’ but because they aren’t TV news anchors, the dictionaries haven’t accepted this. Yet.”

And not soon, one hopes. “Home in on,” meaning aim at, narrow a field to, and apparently evolving from the homing performed by pigeons (and then airplanes and missiles), certainly seems more logical than a phrase that evokes a razor strop.

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Evan Jenkins wrote the Language Corner column for CJR through the Fall of 2007.