Monday, 29 December 2014

Pooh versus Poo!!!

The Battle of the Online Dictionaries!

winnie the pooh boxing gloves  poo boxing gloves

 Pooh versus Poo!

Well, while the title of this post may sound like a gruesome fight between poo(h)s, it is in fact a question that I have been wrestling with for the past 24 hours! Don’t I have anything better to do, you ask? Well, yes I do! So this is quiet a frustrating situation.

I recently published my ‘Smell of Pooh’ children’s chapter book collection, and while hiding behind a pseudonym some of my friends still insisted on ‘sniffing me out’. One such amigo called me last night to complain that he’d just done a thorough search for pooh-related children’s books on Amazon kindle and couldn’t find anything.

While he was on the phone I typed in ‘smell of pooh’ and all of the books in my collection appeared. I asked him what he was playing at and he did the same thing while on the phone, typing in P, O, O!

smell of poo versus pooh
The 'Smell of Pooh' will soon become The 'Smell of Poo'!
I was laughing at his innocent mistake of doing the childish spelling of Pooh (he didn’t appreciate that much), when to my horror I then typed in POO and realised that I had been using the wrong spelling all along!

I made an excuse and hung up on my exasperated friend, then investigated further. As it turns out, the spelling of POO in this context is correct, while POOH is only acceptable depending which dictionary you check!

The best one in my favour was the Oxford English Dictionary, which supports my use of pooh as a noun and verb:   

collins oxford free online dictonary
Oxford Online Dictionary: Acceptable use of 'pooh' as a noun or verb! (also supported by Collins, right).
However, in the ‘rival’ Cambridge Dictionary, if simply said that ‘Pooh’ can be used as an expression of disgust or derision, but not as a term for excrement or defecating (which, as cultured and subtle as my stories are, is a theme running through my ‘Smell’ collection! ;-):

macmillan oxford free online dictonary
MacMillan also does not support my original use of pooh!
So, please forgive me – I have since gone with ‘Poo’ over ‘Pooh’ to help avoid confusion with the chubby yellow bear or when saying ‘pooh’ when smelling a ‘pooh’.

However, in my Amazon widget in the top right corner of this blog is the last remnant of my alleged misuse (according to Cambridge not Oxford, though having visited both amazing Universities there’s little to choose from between the two) of the word Pooh.

Incidentally, some people believe Poo to be the slang version of Pooh, and as such shouldn't feature in a dictionary. However, thankfully most visitors to Collins live in the real world:

I hope nobody else ever has to go so deeply into the thorny issue of poo versus pooh – a battle of our time!

The only real downer is having to have all of the covers remade – luckily my graphic designer is more patient than I am! Urgh. Marketing. My least favourite aspect of being a self-published author...

I suspect that if you have managed to read this entire post without already losing the will to live, you may be as tired of the 'idiosyncrasy' of the English language as I am!

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