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July 24th, 2013 MARTY SMITH | Dr. Know
 

Dr. Know: Ore or OR

Why is Oregon often abbreviated as Ore.?

drknowILLUSTRATION: Hawk Krall
     
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I often see “Oregon” abbreviated as “Ore.” Yet we all know the official two-letter U.S. postal-code abbreviation for our state is “OR.” What gives?

—Brett S.

Please don’t be offended when I say this may be the most boring question I have ever answered in this column.

I mean, I get it. Like you, I’m a language nerd who’s whiled away many an hour debating the subtle distinctions between diereses, umlauts and tremata.*

But come, Brett; let’s sit for a moment. Have you ever kissed a girl? Thrown a baseball? Taken off your socks with the lights on? Is being excruciatingly correct about orthographic minutiae really worth sacrificing any hope of a normal social life?

Just kidding—of course it is! (Especially considering that a “normal social life” for guys like us consists of getting thrown into a gym locker during freshman year and staying there until it’s time to die of old age.)

There are several ways to abbreviate “Oregon” (and other state names); which is correct varies depending on context.

If you’re just mentioning Oregon in a sentence, like, “Oregon leads the nation in dildo abuse,” you shouldn’t abbreviate it at all.

You can use the “Ore.” in a place name or dateline: “Wanker’s Corner, Ore.” And never use the two-letter postal-code abbreviation in anything except actual mailing addresses—it’s wrong.

Why is it wrong? Who knows? As far as I can tell, these are all arbitrary rules mostly made up so people who know the rule can say, “Ha, ha! Fuck you, dumbass!” to people who don’t.

It’s all rather unfair, and I would be more indignant about it were it not for the fact I’m one of the people who knows the rule. But, since I am…ha, ha!

*The nipples of language! Google them; you know you wanna.


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