Wednesday, April 02, 2014

hardscrabble, softscrabble, scrabble

If you had one word to describe your neighborhood, what would that one word be? (This is assuming you have a neighborhood. I am not so sure that suburban or rural areas qualify.)

"Hardscrabble" was the first word to pop into my head. But, consulting Merriam-Webster, I'm not so sure it is an accurate adjective:

a :  being or relating to a place of barren or barely arable soil hardscrabble
farm> <hardscrabble prairies>
b :  getting a meager living from poor soil hardscrabble
:  marked by poverty hardscrabble
cotton town> hardscrabble childhood> 
Since there is not too much unpaved or ungrassed soil, I'll skip sense 1 of the M-W definition. As for sense 2, I'll buy that. I'll buy poverty. (How much does it cost? You can't afford it. Don't ask; don't tell.) But even that is hard to tell. Some folks seem to go to work; others seem to malinger, especially by that nefarious-looking cornerstore.

Maybe we're a softscrabble neighborhood.

Or, for those given to wordplay, maybe we are merely a scrabble neighborhood. And if you are talking about that famous board game, cap that initial S.

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