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Shucks! Did I Just Husk that Corn?

My question is regarding the removal of the husk on corn on the cob. My sisters and I were discussing which is the correct term. They were saying "shuck," and I think the appropriate term is "husk," because "shucking" refers to clams. I'd like to clear up this "summertime" dilemma!

Your timing is astounding, as we debated this very issue with ourselves just last night. In the end, we took the unprecedented step of consulting a dictionary, and found the correct answer to be — both.

According to our Websters New World College Dictionary a husk is indeed "the dry outer covering of various fruits or seeds, as of an ear of corn," and as a transitive verb, to husk is the removal of the husk or husks.

A shuck (yes, it can be a noun) is "a shell, pod, or husk; esp., the husk of an ear of corn." It is also "the shell of an oyster or clam." And the transitive verb to shuck is "to remove shucks from (corn, clams, etc.)."

Clearly the folks in Nebraska side with you, though, because cornshuckers doesn't sound nearly as good as the Mighty Cornhuskers!

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