Perusal and……Zidane

Zidane’s car wouldn’t start… and other thoughts from last Saturday evening.

I am sitting in the ‘Times reader’ infested garden at The Swan (a previous post below) with my copy of The Lawyer and Legal Week – would you believe? It is Saturday evening and I am waiting for a few friends, who are not trained lawyers and who cannot tell the time, to arrive. It is 6.30. there are children in the garden – but I know that they will be ejected or leave voluntarily at 7.00. But then…suddenly, there is the sound of a crying baby. I can feel my blood pressure rise. I wonder sometimes if I am turning into a grumpy old git or have already turned into one. I look over my distinctive black square reading glasses. The Mother catches my eye and looks upwards, a strained smile on her lips. Then a mobile goes off at their table.. a hideous ringtone which causes almost everyone nearby to turn. The collective disapproval of the herd of regulars (Would that be an appropriate collective noun?) and the Times Readers was too much for the Mother to cope with. It made the baby cry even louder and the Father and Mother scurried out, baby and pram. There is a god. I returned to my perusal of The Lawyer and Legal Week.

‘Perusal’… a word sacred to lawyers

Do we really still ‘peruse’. Do fee notes and bills refer to ‘To perusal of documents’ these days? Please feel free to comment below if you or your firm still ‘peruses’.

tr.v. pe·rused, pe·rus·ing, pe·rus·es
To read or examine, typically with great care.

[Middle English perusen, to use up : Latin per-, per- + Middle English usen, to use; see use.]
pe·rusa·ble adj.
pe·rusal n.
pe·ruser n.
Usage Note: Peruse has long meant “to read thoroughly” and is often used loosely when one could use the word read instead. Sometimes people use it to mean “to glance over, skim,” as in I only had a moment to peruse the manual quickly, but this usage is widely considered an error. Sixty-six percent of the Usage Panel finds it unacceptable.

Language is interesting… no more so when English is translated from a foreign language. Here are a few examples.

In a Bucharest hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

In a Paris hotel elevator:
Please leave your values at the front desk.

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.

One thought on “Perusal and……Zidane

  1. I do peruse: at least thats what it says on my bills and attendance notes. The expression is still widely used as a convention by solicitors.

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