Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Another Corny Experience

When handed several ears of corn the other evening whose outer covering needed removing, I realized that I used both the verb "shuck" the corn and the verb "husk" the corn to mean the process of removing the outer covering and cornsilk. Naturally I had to look it up.

To shuck means to remove the shuck.

To husk means to remove the husk.

Are you feeling as enlightened as I did?

Both shuck and husk refer to the outer covering of something, the former specifically nuts or "Indian corn"; the latter, a dry or membranous outer covering of various seeds and fruits (such as corn). Husk, the noun, comes from roughly 14th-century Middle English and the verb form from the mid 1500s, whereas shuck, the noun, dates back to at least the 1600s and shuck, the verb, to the late 1700s, but has unknown origins.

So I dare say that you can either shuck or husk your corn without danger of doing the wrong thing.

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