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A.Word.A.Day--spatchcock

Pronunciation RealAudio

spatchcock (SPACH-kok) verb tr.

1. To insert or interpose something in a forced or awkward manner.

2. To split open a fowl for grilling.

noun

A fowl prepared in this manner.

[Of uncertain origin. Perhaps an alteration of spitchcock, a similar way of cooking an eel. Popular interpretation as a shortening of "dispatch cock" is etymologically not confirmed.]

"A spatchcocked version of flexibility was adopted when the EU's 15 governments held a constitutional conference in 1996-97, and produced the Amsterdam treaty that came into force last year. They agreed that groups of countries should be free to do their own thing--so long as no other EU country objected, which rather negated the point." European Union: Order a la Carte?, The Economist (London), Apr 22, 2000.

"The author manages to spatchcock together Democratic despair at approaching elections, Truman's low political clout, his posing for a portrait, his listening to a baseball game in the 1946 World Series and his being the only man in formal attire at a reception for Supreme Court justices." Kathleen Burk, Truman (book review), History Today (London), Feb 1, 1994.

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