Volokh Commenters Get Noticed:

Someone at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution liked our "mentee" thread -- and quoted a substantial chunk, all from the commenters:

he verbal warfare broke out late last month on "The Volokh Conspiracy," a blog run by UCLA law Professor Eugene Volokh. The squabble began during a discussion of misspellings, when one poster took off on the word "mentee."

I find "mentee" [said he] so offensive that I disparage its usage at every opportunity. While I will reluctantly overlook the use of "mentor" as a verb (that battle is lost), I refuse to acknowledge the existence of the verb "to ment" that "mentee" necessarily implies. Resumes containing this word require no further review. I reserve such vitriol and summary dismissal for this error alone. This is because it is what might be called a Homeric error. And I don't mean Homer Simpson.

Yankev's post: What else do you call the subject of a mentor?

I still vote for protege.

Mentee sounds too much like the endangered sea cows that inhabit Florida's coastal waters.

Was that your mentee I saw you with at lunch?

No, that's not the person I ment.

Uggh. Mentee may be a word, but so is puke.

Ex parte McCardle's post: How about "lickspittle," a great old word which has fallen into unwarranted desuetude?

AK: I might recognize "mentee" as a word, but I will never recognize "Mentos" as a food.

James Fulford: What else do you call the subject of a mentor?


Tim Dowling: My recollection is that during the Bush I Administration, EPA's chief of staff issue a memo banning the use of the word "proactive" because, in his words, "it's not a word." Evidently, he didn't like it, word-wise speaking. By the way, mentoring has its own month, January. IT'S THE LAW. Go forth and ment.

NaG: I propose that "the" is not a word. It means nothing. There is nothing about "the" that adds meaning to a subsequent word. "The pig" has no different meaning than simply "pig"; "the" can simply be inferred from the noun itself.

BobH: Eliminate article!!

JohnEMack: Would other passive forms be better? How about "mentess" for female epigones? Or "mented," which permits us to call former students "demented."

Good work, folks!