Friday, January 30, 2009

Why Can't Junie Read (or Make Time to Do Crunches)?

The Health section of Monday's Los Angeles Times had a small article about ab workouts. The headline was "Flatten that paunch." The first sentence began: "To challenge your core muscles and flatten a lower-ab pooch ..."

I've heard people use "pooch" to refer to a protruding lower tummy before. I never hear any of the words that come after. I get stuck. Hmmm. Pooch. It's cute. It somehow nails it. But it also sounds like you're reaching for "paunch" or "pouch" but just didn't know which word to choose. Still, there's something so natural about it. Do I like pooch? Do I hate pooch? And why is this person still talking and thus rudely disturbing my ruminations on pooch?

Webster's New World Collge Dictionary has a definition for pooch that approaches this usage, but doesn't quite nail it: "to cause to protrude, or bulge outward." Its definition is a verb only, and Webster's adds that this pooch is "used only in the phrase 'pooch out.'" Obviously, the LA Times' use of pooch is just a noun form meaning such a protrusion. But Webster's isn't documenting this one yet.

Anyway, it should go without saying that I never finished the article. I just sat there scratching my head for 10 minutes mumbling "pooch, pooch" and then it was time to drag my weak core work.

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