Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

Five Arrested for Foodfighting

Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane was interrupted again by a mass crime perpetrated in nearby town. (It’s getting closer to Smoketown.) This one brings a new word to our attention.

According to the headline story in the Sunbury Deadly Item this morning, five students from a nearby high school were arrested for a premeditated (first degree) food fighting involving the school’s Christmas dinner. That’s right, this food fight was planned in advance, incurring a tip to school security that prevented further damage and led to swift arrests.

The district superintendent was “angry about the food fight, and that students wasted turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy.” He might have been less agitated had the gravy been left off—it makes the more stubborn stain.

Students will face a yet-to-be-determined sentence of public service, beginning with mopping up (or hosing down) the cafeteria. Other students with food on their clothes are still being interrogated.

I know this was a serious breech of civility reflecting a level of stupidity alarming for any school. The parents of the alleged participants were appalled, too. That the dinner was in celebration of Christmas only made matters worse (unless, of course, you were one of the food fighters). Still, these kids are not responsible for the degradation of the celebration of Christmas that has occurred in the US over the past decades, so let’s not hold them responsible for that aspect of the incident.

Finally, the word foodfight. The editors of the Daily Item are convinced that this is now one word, so they chose to omit even the hyphen (food-fighting), following the lead of the website!) This implies it is derived from a verb, to foodfight. Are we ready for this: I foodfight, you foodfight, he, she, it foodfights. What will the past tense be: He foodfought (a bit yesterday), I suppose. Have they become this accustomed and accepting of food fighting in the fast lane? Zoom on by, please.

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