Re: boffins with lawnmowers

From: Lee Daniel Crocker (
Date: Mon Jul 17 2000 - 18:47:07 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
> research
> 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
> either.

"Egghead" would be understood here. Also "lab coat".

"Lawnmower" by itself in the US generally means the motorized kind
already. We call the ATP-driven variety a "push-mower", but I don't
think most Americans have ever seen one. Since you seem to want to
refer to the engine itself (such as might be used a play vehicle),
"lawnmower engine" would be understood as such (and the vehicles one
makes with such engines are called "go-carts").

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC

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