You be the judge

Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2002 9:30 AM
Subject: Of course we Canadians knew EXACTLY what we are doing... Like when we 'PATRIATED' our Constitution...

Being of the curious sort, and I do realize that can be construed in a number of ways; I like to look up nearly every word so that I can understand more precisely what people are trying to say. Sometimes we take it for granted that we know the meaning of a word, but knowing that we are often deceived by artful use of words, I have found that it pays to look things up even when I think I know it. I decided to do so with the word "PATRIATE".

Now many people have said, you can't 'patriate' a Constitution because a Constitution is supposed to extend from the State, which is comprised of the PEOPLE of a given geographic area.

A Constitution has to come through and be written by the people, not the government. I read the Constitution and everything I could find about it. I looked up the definitions of Free (not subject to the legal constraint of another), State (people), Constitution (by the people), Government (of the civil service).

I realized of course, they were right.

So now I want to know, well exactly what are we doing whenever we 'Patriate'our own Constitution? I get out my Black's Law Dictionary and Voila!! ... word does not exist .... What the? It's the first time Black's has let me down.

So I do an online search of Merriam Webster... word does not exist....
curious and curiouser this...

OK, heavy hammer time. I go over to Bartleby's and... word does not exist...
quick! after the white rabbit!!

It is not on Encyclopedia.com and there is no such thing on Britannica.com.

There was no such word returned in onelook dictionaries which is comprised of 745 dictionaries.

So then I did an online search using xrefer, a web reference engine comprised of 250,000 online references. Their site says;

"xrefer's free site contains encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri & books of quotations from the world's leading publishers. All cross-referenced, all in one place - providing you with a single source for reliable factual

Search results 1 to 1 of 1 for search term patriate

"Quebec"; also "Quebec and the rest of Canada. ...at the time, was however the sole provincial premier to refuse to sign the national agreement to patriate the constitution. In 1987, the Meech Lake Accord was worked out by the federal and..."
The Oxford Companion to the English Language

Well here was something, no definition of the word, but at least used in a scholarly review.

Seeing a reference to Oxford, I then tried to look at the Oxford Dictionary online, thinking it might be there, but you have to be a member, so I could not check it.

I did try a few others. This from Cambridge;
"patriate was not found in the Cambridge International Dictionary of English"

From Microsoft Encarta I got;
"We didn't find a match on "patriate," but we found the following alternate spellings for you. Click one to continue your search."

So I did a search on Merriam's yourdictionary.com and asked for the closest soundex match in 260 english and other language dictionaries. I got podrida;
"Main Entry: ol.la po.dri.da
Pronunciation: -p&-'drE-d&
Function: noun
Etymology: Spanish, literally, rotten pot
Date: 1599
Inflected Form(s): plural olla podridas /-'drE-d&z/; also ollas podridas
1 : a rich highly seasoned stew of meat and vegetables usually including sausage and chick-peas that is slowly simmered and is a traditional Spanish and Latin-American dish
2 : HODGEPODGE" (We might have something here!!!)

You are no doubt by now thinking the same thing I am. You can't have a purple unicorn to ride to school, because purple unicorn's just don't exist.
In much the same manner that you can't HAVE something that doesn't exist, you can't DO something that doesn't exist; like 'patriate' a Constitution.

All other arguments aside, the primary reason you can't 'patriate' a Constitution is just the same as the reason you can't 'patriate' anything else. There simply is no such thing.

Of course, you could ask 30 million Canadians, because we know exactly what it is and we did not just fall off a turnip truck and we are so sharper than beach balls... Which is no doubt why we have a patriated Constitution right over there beside that purple unicorn.

Cheers, Jim

A Sample of Jim's Art

Jim Townsend
Custom Visual Basic Programming
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