As mentioned in an earlier post, I’m something of a word nerd, which is why I was a little confused when I came across a colonial recipe for Thanksgiving turkey in a coffee table book. It said:
“Behead the foul ‘ere you pluck a feather…”
Now, I had heard the term “behead” before, but, for some reason, reading it, it struck me as strange. I couldn’t put my finger on why for the longest time, and then I saw a commercial for the BeDazzler, the item that will make a plain old denim jacket look like a fishing lure for just $19.95.
Surely the prefix “be-” couldn’t be correct for both, could it? It’s commonly accepted that to behead something means to remove its head, yet in the case of the BeDazzler it means to add…dazzle. So I looked it up and, sure enough, the prefix “be-” means:
“1. Completely; thoroughly; excessively. Used as an intensive: Bemuse”
By this definition, to behead a turkey would mean a) to make sure the turkey has plenty of heads, or b) to kill it via several sharp head butts, which, let’s face it, would be a hilarious way to kill a turkey.
But if “behead” does mean “to remove the head,” what happens to someone who is “beloved?” Do you remove their love? Are all those Valentine’s Day cards really meant as aggressive threats?
So I say we “dehead” our turkeys, and by all means DeDazzle your denim jacket; for God’s sake, you look like a Lumberjack Disco Ball.