Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Empoy* (for Employ*)

There are many types of employees (full-time, part-time, salaried, per diem), along with many kinds of jobs (blue-collar, white-collar, pink-collar, etc.). When no other descriptor will do, we call some of these "odd" jobs. On TV recently, I heard someone say he "had been working kind of off and end jobs." I felt like I had suddenly hit the jackpot with a triple-threat "conflated idiom": odds and ends + odd jobs + off and on. In the 1933 film Employees' Entrance, Kurt Anderson (Warren William) pulls every dirty boss trick in the book, taking advantage of an eager new department store clerk played by Loretta Young. As this is a relatively unfettered "pre-Code" movie, it includes a lot of sex and violence, specifically suicide, gunplay, blackmail, backstabbing, and a certain Bill Cosby-like approach to women. There were ten examples of Empoy* (for employ*) in OhioLINK this morning (including a couple of foreign words and "sic" notations), and 326 in WorldCat.

(Film poster/lobby card for the 1933 film Employees' Entrance, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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