March 10, 2008

Jive vs. Jibe

You may have heard of the infamous "puppy-throwing video" that circulated on YouTube. This post is not about that story, but about a peeve of mine that happens to appear in the reporting about the story. I'm not saying this is a huge peeve, but it's Monday morning on the day after we switched over to DST, so I'm cranky.

"The sound of the puppy screaming doesn't seem to jive with his rapidly increasing distance," said Mersereau, who noted that the group is working with poor quality video from the Internet and not the original tape.

In case it doesn't bug you as much as it bugs me, that's an incorrect use of the word "jive." I think Martin Mersereau means "The sound of the screaming puppy doesn't seem to jibe with..."

This is jive:

But I think the definition of "jibe" is what Martin really meant:

jibe: To be in accord; agree: Your figures jibe with mine.

So, someone needs to buy PETA a dictionary.

[[ UPDATE: Thanks to David and Patti, I have replaced the video with a much more appropriate one. ]]

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Posted by James at March 10, 2008 9:20 AM
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I was running the deck for a sail-training ship that worked with "at-risk inner-city youth," and they made a game of it. "Prepare to jibe" was always answered with "Don't you give me no jive, etc."

Not exactly a sea chantey, but the work got done.

Posted by: PJ at March 10, 2008 10:17 AM

Excuse me, I speak jive.

Posted by: David Grenier at March 10, 2008 10:27 AM

James, you are correct. This is one of my pet peeves, and I thank you for bring it up.

Dave, this is for you:

Posted by: Patti M. at March 10, 2008 11:01 AM

Good catch! Another common error came to mind when I read this: "phase" vs. "faze." People are always saying, "That didn't phase me in the least" when they should be using "faze" to mean "disconcert." I don't think most people think "faze" is even a word!

Can't stop giggling at the "Airplane" reference in the comments. :-)

Posted by: Karen at March 10, 2008 11:03 AM

YES - faze vs. phase drives me nuts.

I know there are lots more of these. I can't think of any now, of course, but I predict that I'll hear or read at least two by the end of the day.

Posted by: Julie at March 10, 2008 12:33 PM

How come when the sail jibes, you get knocked unconscious, but when two facts jibe, they're in accord? Ah, words.

Posted by: Maggie at March 10, 2008 2:56 PM

Here's one that seems particularly popular in my office:



Posted by: Patti M. at March 10, 2008 3:05 PM

On sails: perhaps because the sail is adjusting to the direction of the wind.

However, since this only applies when you're sailing before the wind (sailing into the wind is tacking) you have to wonder whether it has anything to do with the etymology of the other "jibe." Possibly not.

Posted by: James at March 10, 2008 3:11 PM

Sometimes, when two facts are in agreement, I am knocked unconscious with surprise.

Posted by: Julie at March 10, 2008 3:38 PM

Just came across one of my favorites in a report.

as per

gah,if you mean according to (which they do in this case) say that.

According to (not per) my Gregg reference manual per means "by the" in latin and is appropriate in miles by the hour (mph), or miles by the gallon (mpg) but should be discouraged elsewhere.

"as per" means "as by the" which doesn't mean anything!

i usually let people get away with per but cross out the as and send the report back with a photocopy of my manual.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at March 12, 2008 10:03 AM

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