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To the Editor:—
I agree that usage determines what is proper with words. However, one has to decide on the authorities who will determine usage. A poll showing the numbers of people who use words in a certain way is not the determinant; rather, the determinant is the use of the word by those particularly qualified in the field concerned. In making the answer for The Journal, I consulted all of the best available dictionaries. I did not have, however, the very latest dictionary which is the Webster's Third New International Dictionary, just published. On page 597, under the designation 3A, appear the following usages for the word "deliver": "to assist (a parturient female) in giving birth." The example is: "She was delivered of a fine boy" or "The doctor has delivered several thousand women in his long career." Also: "to aid in the birth of," and the quote is:
Fishbein M. Delivery of Mother and Child-Reply. JAMA. 1962;179(10):824. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050100078021
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