Our dictionary defines Rhode Island as a “unit of geographic measurement, especially for forest fires, oil spills, droughts or other devastation over a huge area.” The Associated Press, in a Mar. 12, 2017, story out of Anchorage, Alaska, about an Eskimo village expanding its reindeer meat business, has a slightly different usage for Rhode Island. The Eskimos live on the “tundra-covered” island of Nunivak, off the Alaska coast, in the Bering Sea. Nunivak is described as being “slightly bigger than Rhode Island.”
The story does not say whether that’s a lot of space or a tight squeeze for the island’s herd of 2,500 reindeer. However, the herd is reported as “the largest source of reindeer meat sold commercially” in Alaska. We wish the Eskimos good luck. Reindeer meat, highly popular in Scandinavia, is great.