TITLE: Learning by Dint of Experience AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: September 27, 2005 7:29 PM DESC: I learned something about an American idiom this evening. Lots of people helped. ----- BODY: While writing my last article, I encountered one of those strange cognitive moments. I was in the process of writing the trite phrase "through sheer dint of repetition" when I had a sudden urge to use dent in place of 'dint' -- even though I know deep inside that dint is correct. What to do? I used what for many folks is now the standard Spell Checker for Tough Cases: Google. Googling dent of repetition found 4 matches; googling dint of repetition found 470. This is certainly not conclusive evidence; maybe everyone else is as clueless as I. But it was enough evidence to help me go with my instinct in the face of a temporary brain cramp. Of course, our growing experience with the World Wide Web and other forms of collaborative technologies is that the group is often smarter than the individual. The wisdom of crowds and all that. It's probably no accident that I link "wisdom of crowds" to Amazon.com, either. To further confirm my decision to stick with 'dint', I spent some time at Merriam-Webster On-Line, where I learned that 'dint' and 'dent' share a common etymology. It's funny what I can learn when I sit down to write. -----