Byzantine popularity

Yesterday, I commented on The Boston Globe’s use of a journalese favorite, Byzantine. And sure enough, it pops up again today, and again in a page one story, but in a whole new application: tavern history. The story is about three Boston taverns that may or may not be Boston’s oldest. Feature writer Brian MacQuarrie writes: “But in a city meticulous about its past, finding the oldest tavern can be a Byzantine quest.”

No idea what a “Byzantine quest” is, but finding the use of byzantine as an adjective in The Boston Globe files is not at all complicated. A quick online search turns up 422 citations, but that only covers the past three years. A New York Times search turns up 8,714 hits, going back to 1852, with one on Nov. 30 of that year under this headline: “ANOTHER FINANCIAL OPERATION IN WALL STREET–CHARGE OF FRAUD IN GIVING A CHECK ON THE OCEAN BANK.”

File under: Nothing new under the journalese sun.

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