Sunday, April 3, 2016

OMG. Editing today. Line of dialogue: "Lots 'a folks got 'em." Wondering about that sentence. Looked up lotsa and lotta. Neither in use until after 1870! Now wondering how I came up with the 'a. That can't be right, can it? Start looking in online slang dictionaries, the O.E.D., abbreviation dictionaries. Finally, after much wasted time, realize I'm looking for the contraction of 'of.' And yes, the contraction is o'. But here's the amazing thing I discovered: the contraction o' is used in so many English phrases, and I never once wondered what the o' stood for.
o'clock : of the clock
cat-o'-nine-tails : cat-of-nine-tails
jack-o'-lantern : jack of the lantern
will-o'-the-wisp : will-of-the-wisp