Thursday, July 1, 2010

Quash or squash?

Some time ago I wrote a blog about slick and sleek, two words that are often mixed up in use. Quash and squash are another case in point. Squash has several meanings: e.g. a sport where you hit a softball against a wall, or a type of vegetable. Used as a verb it means to compress with violence causing something to bend out of its natural shape. Perhaps this is where it is easy to mistake the word "squash" for "quash." Quash means to repress, or to put down by force or intimidation. It can also mean to dismiss, to annul, to void, or to suppress. These meanings are quite different from "squash", but you will no doubt come across phrases like "to squash (quash) a rumour", or "to squash (quash) an uprising." It is easy to be a malaprop if one does not constantly seek to sharpen his vocabulary.

No comments: