Sir, Your reader Steven Short gives short shrift to idioms and slang due to their ephemeral nature ( Letters, February 3). He overlooks that individuals tend to use the dialects, slang and idioms of their youth all their lives, particularly among family and childhood friends.

More to the point, as a Life Member of the American Dialect Society, Mr Short should know that idioms vary significantly by era and region, defying conclusive identification of any as “wrong”. I may be dating myself, but my siblings and I use the terms “rube” and “hokey”, the ejaculation “Geez, Louise”, and we even say “Let’s blow this popcorn stand” when we want to split from a crummy joint.

Peter L Jaeger
Tokyo, Japan

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