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Please promote world peace and set my brother-in-law straight. Which is the preferred euphemism, "frickin" or "friggin"? I sent him a email that included "frickin," as in, "You don't know a frickin thing." He claims I don't know good English and that there's no such word as frickin. He even sent me a Hi and Lois cartoon where Ditto uses the word friggin, as if Olie Brown is Daniel Webster or something. I know that frickin is more popular. I even think that Lt. Starbuck used it all the tie on the old TV show Battlestar Gallactica.

-- Jackson B. Schneiderfisch, the net

Another opportunity to drag out a reliable Team Matthew Alice Law of the Universe. The guy who's so convinced he's right that he's willing to air his gripe in public is never as right as he thinks he is. In the interest of world peace, Jackson, you and your brother-in-law should head for the negotiating table; and you'd better buy the coffee and donuts, 'cause you'll need the good will. About the only weapon you take into battle is the fact that frickin is a real word, though it's not in a standard dictionary. It's a real word because it's used in both spoken and written English and most people would know what you mean when you say it. But once you've fired that canon, you're out of ammo.

We sent two inspection teams to dig through our huge print-material data base (news, special-interest, and general-interest publications),. They were told to knock on doors, look under beds, and ask the embarrassing questions. In the end, the Frickin Elf Squad was back with a word count long before the Friggin Elf Squad. In the past 10 years, frickin occurred in about 800 documents. Friggin occurred that many times in the last two years alone. Worse yet (for you, anyway), the popularity of friggin has grown like crazy in the last decade. It was found in two documents from 1985 and in about 200 from 2002. But here's your brother-in-law's weapon of mass destruction. Frig and frigging are in dictionaries and have been in print in English since 1600. Sorry. Hi and Lois are smarter than Lt. Starbuck, and your brother-in-law does know at least one frickin (and useless) thing. Better start working on those terms of surrender.

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