For the editor:
CNN reported yesterday (March 30) “Trump saddles up Putin.” I thought that was a bit strange: isn’t the word supposed to be “siddles”? Hence a quest for words.
I assumed that “saddles” came from a mistaken spell check on CNN’s chyron. But why doesn’t the spell checker find “siddles”?
As I was looking ” intermediate “, a verb, I found “shelving”, an adjective and an adverb meaning obliquely or laterally. First I checked my 1962 Random House, full OED – still no siddle. A telephone caller said “side” was in his 2000 Webster’s, Abridged.
I first had a vision of Trump sitting, half-naked, behind Putin, also half-naked, on the latter’s warhorse. Then I checked my wife’s Webster’s New World: School and Office Edition, 1967, in which I found “side”, defined as the transitive verb “to move aside cautiously or stealthily,” from “prob. Now I saw Trump riding side-saddle on one of those four horses of the apocalypse. But there was no “shelving” in this little dictionary.
Back in the OED, I noted that the name “shelving” was a real estate term for a strip of land. This definition reminded me of the fable of one of Lake Placid’s local real estate geniuses selling big for a local gas station, but keeping an L-shaped strip around his profitable corner location, so that when said business wanted to expand, not only had to buy adjoining land, but also pay this tycoon almost as much to get his otherwise worthless “shelving”. It was very much in the tradition of Fred Trump, if Mary Trump’s book is believable.
But the original use of “shelving” dates from 1330 and speaks of a “connyng man” being either “always” Where “sidlyng”. Two centuries later, several meanings appeared, all generally meaning “next to.” Indeed, from 1603, he was associated with “saddle,” a sin “always seated apart, as women use it.”
Finally, in 1697, we have the present — one could say “Trumpian” — definition of sidle, as a verb, also sometimes written ” between “. Its definition (OED) reads as follows: “To move or go sideways or obliquely; sneaking around, especially stealthily or stealthily, or looking the other way; make progress in this way. Even more entertaining is its first use in Aesop’s Fables: “A crab fish once her daughter said so. Seh couldn’t bear to see his daughter come and go.
And now we have some highly advertised electric trucks that will “side, side, back and forth,” much like Trump to Putin will sneakily come and go.