[Latest in the accidentally continuing series on “the journey of the buzzword, acqhire (and its variant spellings)“]
The 12 readers of this blog have followed the journey of the little buzzword, acqhire, first coined here in 2005, as recounted by the noted linguist Ben Zimmer in 2010. In May, 2011, after the New York Times published a front-page article on the “acqhire” phenomena, I wrote about its origins and included a long version of its journey.
Consider this an update.
As I wrote in the previous update and other places, the various spellings of the word is understandable — even I have spelled it differently (with and without a hyphen, with and without a “u” after the “q”). I’ll be the first to admit: besides being a goofy word, it’s an ugly word.
As I theorized last year, those of us who speak english just don’t like seeing the letter “Q” without a “U” behind it. (Little known fact: We invaded Iraq because of this.)
Recently, (as in, a year after the New York Times explored the same phenomenon), the Wall Street Journal used the variant spelling acquihire in a story. (The WSJ’s tech-centric subsidiary, All Things D, however, has appreciated the pun contained in the spelling, “acqhire,” and has used it consistently since 2005.)
This morning, NPR ran a story that, well, seems inspired by the WSJ piece, and uses the “acqui-hire” variant spelling.
Frankly, I don’t care how it is spelled. Trying to get people to spell it my way (even though I’ve spelled it in various ways) is sort of like trying to convince people in the UK they’re wrong when they use a “y” instead of an “i” in the word, “tire.”
Last week, I was chatting with an employee of Twitter who had been a co-founder of a company Twitter acquired. “Oh,” I said, “you were ack-hired.”
“Yes,” he said, correcting my pronunciation, “ack-we-hired.”
“Whatever,” I mumbled, as he was from a country where they use “u” in the word color.