The Maryland Daily Record today features an article about Governor O’Malley’s criticism of litigation being prosecuted by a  local law school clinic.  You can draw your own conclusions about whether the litigation at issue is meritorious or not; I’ll hold  my peace.

Which brings me to this Monday Morning Hearsay’s tidbit.  In the article, Governor O’Malley’s spokesperson is quoted as saying, about a letter written to the law school:  “He wrote the letter.  He said his peace.”

Can you say your peace?  Instead of holding it?

I would have written, “He said his piece.”  As in, a piece of his mind, or “reading Safire’s piece on Vonnegut is like watching the scene in Being John Malkovich when Malkovich enters his own head.”   Something like that.

So which is it, piece or peace?  These are the  silly things I busy my mind  with while others, you know, find cures  for cancer and so forth.

According to Webster’s, you speak your piece, not your peace, which to my mind makes sense.  Peace connotes silence, which may also be held but may not be  spoken.

The Oxford English Dictionary says the same.   The OED, of course, is the product of centuries of accumulated vernacular. When James A.H. Murray undertook in the mid-nineteenth century to curate the authoritative dictionary of the English language, he relied on volunteers who collected and sent to him, on  scraps  of paper, words taken from hundreds of publications.   (Check out The Professor and the Madman or The Meaning of Everything, both by the wonderful historian Simon Winchester, for more on this if you’re  interested.)

My point being that language evolves, and perhaps now, in the age of Internet and memes, it evolves more quickly than ever before.  A  quick Google  search yields more than a few examples of spoken peace, rather than piece, along with a healthy dollop of grammar snark.

Whether it will be possible, at some point in the future, to give someone else a peace of one’s mind,  Zen-style, remains to be seen.