Slurry and Flurry

By Maeve Maddox

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Almost right is not good enough.

I read this in the Daily Mail during hurricane season:

. . . the National Weather Service issued a slurry of alarming tweets.

Presumably, the writer meant that the Weather Service issued so many tweets, one after another, they were like objects flying through the air. If that were the intention, the word wanted in the context is flurry.

Literally, a flurry is a sudden agitation of the air or a gust of wind.

A flurry of sweet, chocolaty and bitter roasted coffee aromas came off the beer.

Rain fell at 5 a.m., followed by a snow flurry around noon, helping crews gain the upper hand.

As we leave, we’re surprised by a light flurry of snow, desultory wet flakes flicking around the black sky.

The word flurry is used figuratively to describe general commotion, or a sudden occurrence of many things at once, like a series of frantic tweets.

Mr. Reid is pushing a flurry of action while many lawmakers are eyeing the door.

After a flurry of phone calls, the passports were released and arrived Saturday.

In a flurry of activity, this deal was concluded right on the year-end deadline.

In one episode, foreigners would appear on stage one by one, hurling a flurry of insults at Letterman in their native languages.

The word slurry, on the other hand, belongs not to the sky and wind but to the earth and mud.

Slurry is thin sloppy mud or cement. In extended use, slurry is any fluid mixture of a pulverized solid with a liquid, usually water. It can be coal dust mixed with water, or a mixture of farmyard waste and water resulting in liquid fertilizer. It can even be an edible solution used in baking.

Concrete is a product that begins as a slurry of cement, sand, gravel and water.

Deinking recycled paper pulp results in a waste slurry which may go to landfill.

Another advantage of slurry is that unlike water, fertilizer doesn’t evaporate.

The agency already has similar regulations for coal slurry ponds at coal mines.

Mix about 2 tablespoons milk with cornstarch in a bowl to make a smooth slurry.

Slurry derives from another noun, slur, which means “thin or fluid mud.” The verb to slur, meaning, “to smear, stain, smirch, sully,” comes from this meaning of slur. Throwing slur on someone would certainly sully them.

Morsi declared, using a slur for Jews that is familiar across the Muslim world.

Her show was canceled following making an anti-gay slur earlier this month.

I resent very much, the slur on maleness that messrs Burkard and Burki publicise.

He also described the crime as a slur on the doctor’s professional reputation.

Unrelated to the muddy slur is the verb that means “to drag or slide or obscure,” as in “the stereotypical drunk slurs his speech.” This slur comes from a German word meaning “to drag the feet, to shuffle.”

From the east, an overlapping series of dark green ridge lines slur into the sea.

The left side of her face was partially paralyzed, which caused her words to slur.

Enotikon was also used in Ancient Greek music notation, as a slur under two notes.

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