The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent


Shouting "Fie!" in a crowded Boston meetinghouse


Prof. Josh Blackman quotes a funny story from Nathaniel Philbrick's "Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution":

Bostonians in the eighteenth century had a decidedly different accent from the British, especially when it came to the pronunciation of the letter [R]. Instead of "Fie!" (a colonial-era word used to voice opposition to something) they heard the officers shouting "Fire!" Mistakenly fearing that the meetinghouse was about to be consumed in flames, they began to run for the doors as others leaped out the first story windows.

And things go downhill from there—check out the whole post.