Friday, May 21, 2010

Divas, whom and more

WHO'S NEXT: Or are you still pining for Fasano’s eventual replacement, whomever that might be?

Yes, it's whoever, not whomever.

MEANING? I've watched the movie McLintock many times, and Mrs. McLintock tells this man to shut his unprepossessing face (or something similar). John Wayne tells him that he once looked it up and he was better off not knowing; from context, I assumed it meant ugly or unattractive.

Unprepossessing means creating an unfavorable or neutral first impression or not overtly impressive; unremarkable; nondescript. That's pretty close.

THE DIVA: When I was growing up, a diva meant an operatic singer of note, such as Maria Callas or Beverly Sills. Later, the word was extended to Aretha Franklin and other top non-operatic singers. Then it was stretched to all women. Finally, NFL folk started talking about so-called diva receivas like Terrell Owens.

So I looked up diva.

1. An operatic prima donna.
2. A very successful singer of nonoperatic music: a jazz diva.

Why look it up? The headline Diva Diana Supremely Divine. It obviously involves Diana Ross, formerly of The Supremes.

Yes, I'd call her a diva.

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