Secret Pop

Oct 25, 2002

Who's writing Microsoft Outlook's spellcheck application? Umberto Eco?

I just received a courteous spellcheck alert about my use of the word "cheeseball" in an email I was about to send. The suggested replacement was "chasuble," which is defined by Merriam-Webster as follows:

'cha-z&-b&l, -zh&-, -s&-
Etymology: Middle French, from Late Latin casubla hooded garment
Date: 14th century
: a sleeveless outer vestment worn by the officiating priest at mass

I am usually dismissive of Microsoft's questionable brand of erudition. I mean, Microsoft's grammar check will balk if your sentence is complex enough to require more than one comma. But this time I was truly surprised at how arcane the entry was.

I was half-tempted to accept the suggested change, just for kicks. But I was using "cheeseball" adjectivally, and "chasuble" is clearly a noun. Even for the sake of humor, I'm not going to be that irresponsible.

P.S. "Kryptonite" isn't in the Microsoft lexicon, either. What possible good can this dictionary do me?