Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Rogue Elephant

When I heard that Sarah Palin's forthcoming memoir bears the title Going Rogue, I looked up the word "rogue" in the dictionary and immediately wondered if anyone in Palin's camp had bothered to do the same. (Knowing of Ms. Palin's dysfunctional relationship with the English language, I never dreamed that she would personally undertake such research, but surely someone on her staff could have cracked the old Websters.) Here's the listing in its entirety, courtesy of

rogue  [rohg]

1. a dishonest, knavish person; scoundrel.
2. a playfully mischievous person; scamp: The youngest boys are little rogues.
3. a tramp or vagabond.
4. a rogue elephant or other animal of similar disposition.
5. Biology. a usually inferior organism, esp. a plant, varying markedly from the normal.

–verb (used without object)
6. to live or act as a rogue.

–verb (used with object)
7. to cheat.
8. to uproot or destroy (plants, etc., that do not conform to a desired standard).
9. to perform this operation upon: to rogue a field.

10. (of an animal) having an abnormally savage or unpredictable disposition, as a rogue elephant.
11. no longer obedient, belonging, or accepted and hence not controllable or answerable; deviating, renegade: a rogue cop; a rogue union local.

1555–65; appar. short for obs. roger begging vagabond, orig. cant word

1. villain, trickster, swindler, cheat, mountebank, quack.

The specific association of "rogue" with elephants ought to be a rich source of PR opportunities for the Republican Party.

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