This morning the estimable editors at UniversalHub described a truck as “freshly storrowed,” meaning that it had been driven under a famously (but not famously enough I guess) too-low overpass on Storrow Drive and either gotten stuck or had the top ripped off or both. Bostonians know this phenomenon all too well, mostly around the traditional moving seasons at the start and end of the academic year.
The earliest (easily found) search result for this use of storrowing is a Tour De France blog post by Dave Chiu from this past summer with a photo of a bus that had tried to squeeze under some signage that was not high enough. Over at Urban Dictionary, there’s another sense of storrowing that is probably as old as the hills in practice if not in name, and also a portmanteau of steal and borrow.
to borrow something intending to not return it or to borrow something and decide to keep it.
More searching uncovers what might be an even earlier meaning for storrowing that also comes with a handy opposite in astorrowing which apparently is to be avoided if possible.
STORROWING PEATS: Three weeks after cutting the peats are ready to be storrowed – that is placed on end in little wigwam like piles so that the air can circulate freely round them. In a wet year those piles sometimes have to be taken down and built up again, outside in. This is known as “astorrowing” and no one does it if they can help it. After another three weeks the peats should be ready to come home.
What would James J. Storrow think? Maybe his ancestors were in the peat business back in the old country. One hopes his descendants are careful when driving trucks on the family road, though the headline writers would certainly love it if they weren’t.
— Update 10/15 —
Some time after I wrote this, somebody added Storrowed to Urban Dictionary using the same UniversalHub story as the basis. Also, a video.