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Meretricious! An anecdote (and a Christmas pun) from acclaimed science fiction author Isaac Asimov

The late science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov, told this story:

Once Horace Gold [my editor] went too far. He rejected a story of mine which he called ‘€œmeretricious.’€ The word is from the Latin meretrix, meaning ‘€œprostitute,’€ so that the implication was that I was prostituting my talent and was writing a bad story that would get by on my name alone because I was too lazy to write a good one. (This was not true, by the way. This particular story was sold elsewhere and received considerable acclaim.)

Isaac Asimov photo - meretricious!Swallowing my annoyance, I said mildly, ‘€œWhat was that word you used?’€

Obviously proud at knowing a word he felt I didn’€™t know, Horace enunciated carefully, ‘€œMeretricious!’€

Whereupon I said, ‘€œAnd a Happy New Year to you.’€

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