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This blog is about the fascinating, fun, and challenging things about the English language. I hope to entertain you and to help you with problems or just questions you might have with spelling and usage. I go beyond just stating what is right and what is wrong, and provide some history or some tips to help you remember. Is something puzzling you? Feel free to email me at wordlady.barber@gmail.com.
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Friday, March 30, 2012

Roster

The Major League Baseball regular season starts next week, and no doubt most players would like to be on the starting roster. They would be less eager, perhaps, to be on the original “roster”, which was a gridiron for roasting meat. The Dutch word rooster was pronounced like – and was indeed the same thing as – our “roaster”. Because a gridiron-shaped roasting rack looks like a list drawn up in tabular form, the word gradually came to have its current meaning.

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About Me

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Canada's Word Lady, Katherine Barber is an expert on the English language and a frequent guest on radio and television. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Her witty and informative talks on the stories behind our words are very popular. Contact her at wordlady.barber@gmail.com to book her for speaking engagements; she can tailor her talks to almost any subject. She is also available as an expert witness for lawsuits.