Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Frisky" Headline

Press-Republican, front page, Thursday, April 9, 2009:

"Gas-tank frisk at border reveals marijuana stash"

I didn't know that a gas tank could be frisked. Maybe this one was wearing clothing and the marijuana was detected during a pat down.

Unlike PR editors I have a dictionary at hand when writing. I try to be accurate with my word usage and definitions.

Most dictionaries define frisk (as used in the headline) as a quick tactile inspection of a suspect's clothing for concealed weapons or stolen articles. One dictionary said the word could be broadly used as a verb to mean searching quickly. If the headline writer meant frisk in the sense of a quick search, then the term is still incorrect. I suspect the inspection by the border officers was methodical, not cursory.

Or maybe the officers were frolicking and gamboling with the tank and that's how the stash was discovered.

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