Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: squash; quash, vb.

squash; quash, vb.

"Squash" (= to flatten or soften [something] by forceful crushing or squeezing) is not a substitute for "quash" (= to overturn or make legally invalid; to suppress, as a rebellion). Many writers err on this point — e.g.:

o "The Alabama story ends for the moment with criminal indictments, and with Windom not only installed as lieutenant governor but also successfully seeing through the tort-reform legislation his opponents had tried to squash [read 'quash']." Arianna Huffington, "Happy Ending No Savior in Political Horror Story," Chicago Sun-Times, 1 Sept. 1999, at 45.

o "The Hartford Courant's motion to squash [read 'quash'] a subpoena duces tecum issued by the Journal Publishing Co. is granted." "Connecticut Opinions — Connecticut Superior Court Reports," Conn. Law Trib., 26 Feb. 2001, at 212.

o "They fear that the West Freeport rebellion could hamper the town's future planning efforts and squash [read 'quash'] other, more moderate proposals to revamp the town's zoning laws." Tom Bell, "Zoning Controversy Defines Council Race," Portland Press Herald, 1 Nov. 2001, at B1.

Language-Change Index – "squash" misused for "quash": Stage 1.

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Quotation of the Day: "In literature it is our business to give people the thing that will make them say, 'Oh yes I know what you mean.' It is never to tell them something they don't know, but something they know and hadn't thought of saying. It must be something they recognize." Robert Frost (1874-1963) in 1914 (as quoted in Elaine Barry, Robert Frost on Writing 27 (1963)).

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