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I think the closed question, Literal Meaning of 'Gosh' should be reopened.

The general reference reason to close specifies that a question

can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.

This particular question has three good answers (yes, one's mine) that link to several sources and, in my opinion, still don't get to the bottom of things.

In particular, I'm curious why the -sh was chosen as the minced oath. Was it a shortening of something similar to zounds? Did it really come from by Gosse, and if so, why gosse? Perhaps these questions extend somewhat beyond the OP, but I think they're contained within its purview.

  • 1
    I think that's a good question, I was under the impression that it was a related to the hillbilly slang "Land 'o Goshen". Goshen being the land that the Israelites inhabited while in Egypt. I didn't have any proof whatsoever for it, but was surprise no one mentioned the connection. – Peter Turner Jun 12 '12 at 18:29
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There's some answers somewhere on meta from nohat (I think) that say that some questions might not be as good as they could be, but they still sometimes elicit a great answer.

Sometimes the easy/simple questions can make us experts see things in another light and find something for everyone that otherwise wouldn't happen.

You've added some interesting extra questions. I suggest you either go ahead and edit and add them to the original question, and/or just answer those as bonuses in your answer.

I had voted to close, I've now voted to reopen.

  • Not sure about nohat, but I appreciate @Cerberus' perspective on this as seen here, here, and here. – Callithumpian May 23 '12 at 12:27
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Those questions do extend beyond the O.P., and that is significant. Members of the community can only read what is put into the question. Don't expect us to find the hidden nuances that can turn a mundane question into an interesting one; the onus is on you to do that. Perhaps some members will be able think of interesting subtleties that can be explored, but others will regard it only at face value, and rightfully so. No one can read your mind.

Quite frankly, I've been surprised at how some users write what appear to be very hastily-drafted questions, and then take umbrage when their question is summarily closed.

My advice to anyone asking a question: take your time. State your question clearly. Put it into context. Include all the subpoints you would like to have investigated. Explain in detail what research you have already conducted. Make it evident that your question is not motivated by laziness or inertia; instead, plainly show that you've performed some research with a good-faith effort. Finally, proofread it. Make your question itself a positive contribution to the community – such questions are eagerly welcomed by the English enthusiasts who frequent this forum.


Let me offer EXHIBIT A. How easy would it have been for the O.P. to ask:

What is the difference between an emperor and a king? I was asked this question the other day, but had trouble coming up with a good answer.

and then leave it at that! Instead,

  • a context for why the question is being asked is provided,
  • preliminary research is presented (notice how this extends beyond just king & emperor, but includes kingdom & empire as well), and
  • an initial hypothesis is given.

Clearly, the O.P. has put some careful thought into this question. It's a very basic question, but notice the reaction: it was protected, not closed, and had received nearly 40 upvotes by the time I wrote this. Who knows how many more it may garner over time?

  • I think this is all excellent advice to those posing questions at this site. However, not all questioners will be able to follow all of this advice. There needs to be room, for those of us willing, to sometimes tease out of basic-looking questions answers that maintain our interest in this site, possibly uncover new information, and contribute useful and interesting reading for future viewers. – Callithumpian May 24 '12 at 3:11
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    @Callithumpian: I agree, some questions age like wine, and get better over time, thanks to community contributions. My advice is directed at those who don't seem to realize how they could ask a very interesting question, if they'd only supply a bit more background info, or provide a context. And it needn't be extensive; let me offer EXHIBIT B. It's plenty concise, but it says what needs to be said. (The answer was good, too. The next day, I heard "icing on the cake" on the radio, and thought, "That's the opposite of 'straw that broke...'") – J.R. May 27 '12 at 10:55
  • I disagree. A dictionary doesn't need to know why you want the definition of a word. The question you've cited is perfectly adequate for an expert to provide a thorough answer. – Django Reinhardt May 29 '12 at 10:17
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    @J.R. Sorry, I wasn't clear. I found your shortened version of the answer to be acceptable. I appreciate what you're saying, though. The longer version is more interesting, I just don't think it's right to deride the shortened version, when it does everything it needs to (IMO). The content of the question (i.e., is it likely to have an interesting answer) is far more important to me. – Django Reinhardt May 29 '12 at 11:25
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    @Django: Indeed, someone could ask the shortened version of the question, but I doubt it would get 38 upvotes. Some might wonder if a dictionary was even consulted - which I believe is a fair question. I appreciate having the definitions right in front of me, so I don't have to look them up. I appreciate knowing why the question came up; there's a certain charm to that element of the story. I appreciate the historical footnotes; those might prevent me from saying something erroneous. Most of all, I appreciate the work that went into the question, and I think many others did, too. – J.R. May 29 '12 at 11:44
  • This answer doesn't make sense to me. It's written as if OP here wrote the question there, but they didn't! After the question has several good answers and is therefore of clear interest to experts here, it should not be closed! It doesn't matter about the question itself, imo. – Araucaria Nov 25 '17 at 16:21

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