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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Burrs Under My Saddle Blanket

Online dictionaries have given whole new meanings to many words and phrases; one of which is the Americanism: a burr under the saddle blanket. It has always meant a problem comparable to the prickly, intractable burr that a horse suffers when the burr gets under its saddle blanket and next to its skin, a irritant that is much larger than the size of the burr. It makes one a little crazy until the burr or problem is removed. The new, online dictionaries are so out-of-touch with the reality of burrs and horse saddle blankets that they offer an entirely new phrase "burr in the saddle"*, which is nonsensical because a burr in its saddle would not be felt by a horse and would therefore be no trouble. And the online dictionaries have added personifications and durations of time that are unwarranted.

Old style paper dictionaries did not force-feed new, agenda-driven definitions like the new, online dictionaries are pushing. These new online dictionaries are burrs under my saddle blanket.

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* Source:

Caption: Burrs Under My Saddle Blanket

self-portrait scan by Annmarie Throckmorton long ago

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