But it’s in the Urban Dictionary
Shakespeare did it on purpose.
But modern mortals rarely get a pass when we make up new words—”refudiate,” for example—by accident. At least, we don’t get a pass when we were obviously going for a similar, recognizable word.
It was clear that Sarah Palin was reaching for either “refute” or “repudiate” when she tweeted the made-up word “refudiate” a couple of years ago.
I thought of that as I read the “Web inSites” column in The Washington Post’s Sunday Style last weekend.
In describing a legal tiff between the humor websites TheOatmeal and FunnyJunk, the columnist wrote that the founder of TheOatmeal “attempted to quelch the madness” by paying a settlement to charity.
To be fair, consider that at least four words with prominent Q’s have “suppress” as one meaning: Squelch. Quell. Quash. Quench.
To be even more forgiving, you could shift blame to an editor or copy editor. Someone really should have helped the writer out of her Q-word quandary.
And to be downright generous, you could look at coinages such as “refudiate” or “quelch” as adding vigor and richness to our vibrant living language.
Or you could just read and snicker, especially if you know that “quelch” does have an Urban Dictionary definition. It’s not family-friendly, so I won’t share it. Google it yourself.