Anecdotes about Writers (1)
Once an editor rejected a story of Isaac Asimov and called it “meretricious.”
The word is from the Latin meretrix, meaning “prostitute,” so that the implication was that Asimov was prostituting his talent and was writing a bad story that would get by on his name alone because he was too lazy to write a good one. Later the story was sold elsewhere and received considerable acclaim.
Swallowing his annoyance, Asimov said mildly, “What was that word you used?”
Obviously proud at knowing a word he felt Asimov didn’t know, the editor enunciated carefully, “Meretricious!” Whereupon Asimov replied, “And a Happy New Year to you.”