Exploring the pathways of our lexicon
July 27, 2009By Ben Zimmer
Last week, after the death of Walter Cronkite, I wrote about how two words seemed irrevocably linked to the great newsman: avuncular and anchorman. Obituaries claimed that the term anchorman was first coined to refer to Cronkite, but as I wrote in Slate, this isn't exactly true: there were earlier "anchormen" on television, even if they didn't play quite the same coordinating role as Cronkite and his emulators. The Associated Press obituary, which was picked up by news outlets around the world, followed up the anchorman claim with another linguistic nugget about Cronkite, and this one is on even shakier factual ground. Continue reading...