May I digress? Yesterday, as I jogged along on the treadmill, I listened to Lou Dobbs (he helps the adrenaline, I find). He used the word "coronate"--as in, McCain wants the Republican party to coronate him. Whatever next, I thought? So now the great bloviator is making up his own words. Or perhaps it was a slip of the tongue. Anyway, I laughed and moved on--or not, you understand, since I was on a treadmill.

Just now I was reading Margaret Carlson on Bloomberg, and I saw this:

[Clinton's] Lazarus-like win [in New Hampshire] kept her from looking any further into why she lost so badly in Iowa. It put off any move to change her insular staff and validated her original strategy in which the primaries were a mere formality. Voters would coronate her partly because she had been first lady, because she was a Clinton, and because it was her turn after all she had been through.



Maybe I owe Lou an apology. Is this recognized American usage? Is there something wrong with "crown"--an objection, I mean, that does not apply to the idea of a coronation? The American Oxford Dictionary does not offer a definition of coronate; it helpfully (in its Mac version) asks whether I meant "coronet". But the Columbia Guide to Standard American Usage has anticipated Dobbspeak. It says:

A nonstandard back-formation from the noun coronation, perhaps coined first as a jocular nonce word. The Standard verb is to crown or to be crowned, and the usual idiom is to have a coronation.



Nonce? "Made up for one occasion and not likely to be encountered again." Deep waters. But let's not make a habit of coronate. If crown won't work, there's always anoint. "Smear or rub with oil, typically as part of a religious ceremony."

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