• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


    from Twitter


    Monday, April 13, 2009

    Sounded the Klaxon

    This morning I was reading my American Medical Association news briefing, when one of the authors said this (in an article about atypical antidepressants):

    But, "in November, an expert panel advising the FDA on pediatric drug safety sounded the klaxon over the rising use of atypical antipsychotics among kids, and faulted the FDA for failing to issue warnings strong enough to stem the tide." (emphasis added)

    I've always considered myself pretty adept at the English language; surely not the wisest and most talented master, but it has been one of my few talents. I've read numerous books, news articles, etc., and never come across this phrase.

    So, on reading it this morning, it immediately jumped out at me. It sounded like a Star Trek character ... and I almost thought it was. My first search on Google returned a webpage talking about Klaxons as some type of alarm in the Star Wars universe. However, I doubted that the author of a news briefing would allude to obscure Star Wars alarms, no matter how happy George Lucas would be, and kept digging.

    The next link was a memoir of a soldier in the 1960s who mentions a klaxon and describes it as a warning siren on his ship. This sounded more reasonable, so I took off to Merriam-Webster to see if he could shed any more light on this alien subject.

    Mr. Webster calls a klaxon a
    used for an electrically operated horn or warning signal

    That old soldier was right.

    So now "sounding the klaxon" makes sense. Sounding a warning siren. However, I think I'll always have a funny picture of George Lucas in a Sith outfit ringing a bell every time I hear it.

    No comments: