A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 04, 2009
Columny (calumny from a columnist)

"Calumny” means a misrepresentation that harms another’s reputation. A “columnist” is a person who writes a column of news or opinion for a publication. “Columny” is a columnist’s calumny.

William Safire (1929-2009), the language maven and political pundit who wrote columns for the New York (NY) Times, often referred to a fellow writer as a “colleague in columny.” Safire used “columny” at least as early as 1979, almost always using the term in jest. “Columny” appears in print by at least 1940, but Safire’s constant use of the word popularized it.


Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary
Main Entry: cal·um·ny
Pronunciation: \ˈka-ləm-nē also ˈkal-yəm-\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural cal·um·nies
Etymology: Middle English calumnye, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French calomnie, from Latin calumnia, from calvi to deceive; perhaps akin to Old English hōlian to slander, Greek kēlein to beguile
Date: 15th century
1 : a misrepresentation intended to harm another’s reputation
2 : the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another’s reputation

Time magazine
Books: Columny
Monday, Sep. 23, 1940
GOSSIP: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF WALTER WINCHELL—St. Clair McKelway—Viking ($1.75).

Google News Archive
24 September 1979, The Age (Melbourne), “Putting the verb back in its place” from William Safire in New York, pg. 11, col. 2:
My revered colleague in columny, James J. Kilpatrick, author of the classic “The Foxes Union” and a conservative before that persuassion became de rigeur mortis, was taking me to task recently for abandoning the ramparts on “hopefully.”

New York (NY) Times
On Language; Goons and Ginks and Company Finks
By WILLIAM SAFIRE
Published: Sunday, November 1, 1987
(...)
My colleague in columny, Russell Baker, nobody’s Schmierfink, was moved before Labor Day to evoke a song best known to labor skates:...

New York (NY) Times
ON LANGUAGE; Andrid’s Revenge
BY WILLIAM SAFIRE
Published: Sunday, January 15, 1989
(...)
I took issue with my colleague in columny in a piece entitled ‘’Color Me Tainted,’’ arguing that political experience enriches a commentator’s understanding of the ‘’contrivance and manipulation’’ that goes on.

Time magazine
WILLIAM SAFIRE: Prolific Purveyor Of Punditry
By WALTER SHAPIRO Monday, Feb. 12, 1990
Writing a provocative newspaper column is an invitation to be egregiously wrong in public—at least some of the time. Take the man who is America’s best practitioner of the art of columny: succinctly melding fact and opinion in an unforgiving 770-word format.

New York (NY) Times
ON LANGUAGE; Manhandling the Handlers
By William Safire
Published: Sunday, November 24, 1991
(...)
WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY Jr., my senior colleague in columny, has just finished writing his most intimate and self-revealing book, which will prove that even right-wingers have feelings.

9 March 2001, Albuqueque (NM) Journal, “‘Columny’ And Other Matters” by Jim Belshaw:
Certain truths make themselves known in the column business (or “columny,” as Safire would have it).

New York (NY) Times
Protecting Saddam
By WILLIAM SAFIRE
Published: Monday, March 18, 2002
(...)
My colleague in columny, a respected commentator with a fine writing style, bases his conclusion on recent interviews with ‘’senior European officials.’’

New York (NY) Times
November 8, 2004
OP-ED COLUMNIST
The Great Mentioner
By WILLIAM SAFIRE
(...)
My old colleague in Times columny, Russ Baker, conjured the oracle: the Great Mentioner.

New York (NY) Times
Language: Foreign tidbits worth gobbling up
By William Safire
Published: Monday, April 18, 2005
WASHINGTON — My colleague in columny, Maureen Dowd, charged recently that Vice President Dick Cheney and his aides “shoehorned all their meshugas about Saddam’s aluminum tubes, weapons labs, drones and Al Qaeda links into Powell’s UN speech.”

Google Books
Safire’s Political Dictionary
By William Safire
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
2008
Pg. 670:
(The noun calumny means “false and malicious charges”; when stooped to by a columnist, it can be called columny.)

the glittering eye
Your Word For the Day: Columny
by Dave Schuler on September 25, 2009
I saw the word “columny”, presumably a portmanteau word composed of “column” and “calumny”, for the first time in this post by Matt Welch in response to Paul Krugman’s indictment of opponents of Waxman-Markey as denialist right-wing ideologues:...

New York (NY) Times
Op-Ed Columnist
Who Are You Calling a Narcissist, Rush?

By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: November 3, 2009
(...)
I went on to columny, as my pal Bill Safire called it, and Rush went on to calumny.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • (0) Comments • Wednesday, November 04, 2009 • Permalink