Here's a handy quiz to see whether your knowledge of English vocabulary is better than (ahem!) one or two of those on my blogroll. Fill in the appropriate adjectives to complete the story:
The ________ veteran of the Park Police blanched when he saw the ________ scene the ________ bears had left behind: there was nothing left of the naïve environmentalists except bones and ________ bits.
Choices: grisly, gristly, grizzled, grizzly.
Click 'More' for the answers, if you don't already know them.
The grizzled veteran of the Park Police blanched when he saw the grisly scene the grizzly bears had left behind: there was nothing left of the naïve environmentalists except bones and gristly bits.
To simplify, 'grizzled' means that one's hair or beard is gray or sprinkled with gray. It is etymologically related to 'grizzly', which refers only to a particular species of bear whose fur, unlike that of other bears, turns partially gray with age. 'Grisly' means 'grim, ghastly, horrible', and has nothing to do with bears per se, despite the fact that the scientific name of the grizzly is Ursus horribilis. Finally, 'gristly' means 'full of gristle' or otherwise pertaining to or connected with the cartilaginous parts of the body. Now if everyone could please stop writing about "grizzly" scenes when there are no bears involved, I can get back to more substantial, and less pedantic, posts.Posted by Dr. Weevil at October 19, 2003 05:39 PM