boffins with lawnmowers

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Mon Jul 17 2000 - 02:15:54 MDT

This is a kinda silly post, but in micro-editing THE SPIKE for the US
edition my editor asks for US-friendly replacements for `boffin' and
`motor-mower engine'.

              Main Entry: bof·fin
              Pronunciation: 'bä-f&n
              Function: noun
              Etymology: origin unknown
              Date: 1945
              chiefly British : a scientific expert;
              especially : one involved in technological

and a motor-mower engine is the sort of lawnmower run by petrol (gas),
rather than human ATP and huffing sounds.

My use of `boffins' relates to Arthur C Clarke and his Interplanetary
Society chums after WW II, so it's kinda hard to see why I should use a
*non*-Brit term, but if you demmed colonials don't understand what it
means, then I shall do so. Any suggestions for Yankoid contenders? `Nerd
and `geek' are of course much too recent. `Pundit' isn't quite right.
`Longhaired experts', `pointyheads' and other 1950ish terms don't catch it

Damien Broderick [a demmed other colonial]

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