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abash

Copy editors have to be very careful with the word abash. They must make certain that a space doesn’t surreptitiously slip in between the a and the bash. Otherwise, there could be legal problems.

Rather than thinking that someone’s self esteem was destroyed (the meaning of abashed) they might think that they were physically struck (i.e., they were bashed) or they were disturbing the peace at a raucous party (a bash).

That having been said, psychopaths might not be abashed if they are caught bashing someone. And dedicated party animals might not be abashed when others think they are getting a little too loud at a bash. Responsible party hosts will, however, almost certainly be abashed if they are found to have invited psychopaths to a bash. And those hosts will be especially abashed if they are found to have invited psychopaths to engage in bashing at a bash.

Of course, bashing and bashes are only tangentially associated with the fine word abash, and that tangential association is stretched to almost nothingness. So, never mind. Let’s move off this word, shall we?

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