Oryx-and-Crake (oryx_and_crake) wrote in linguaphiles,
Oryx-and-Crake
oryx_and_crake
linguaphiles

'Stem' as an adjective

Dear linguaphiles,

I have come across a sentence that puzzled me. It describes someone who has grown up in a rich family and led a protected life: "Jocelyn had been insulated in some ways, left stem and innocent." I have never seen 'stem' as an adjective before. It may be a typo and the real word may be 'stern' which makes slightly more sense in the context, but still not a lot. Any ideas?
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Interesting. Both editions I have (paper and electronic) have 'stem' in them. That makes some sense, thanks.
P.S. I cannot see the Google book from Canada. Could you check if there is any text or line break omitted in this paragraph:

He stroked her hand. She tried to rub her finger on his pulse, as they used to do. He let go. Half an hour later, she was saying, “Is it all right if I still go to the concert?”

Thanks a lot!
No, nothing omitted.
thank you!!!
"Stern and innocent" yields 7 results on google, most of them European in flavor.

"Stem and innocent" yields none, so this is a typo. "Stem and innocent" is a turn of phrase too distracting and strange to be real. I wonder if a scanner were used to convert from paper to digital?
My paper copy also has 'stem', that's the problem.
Bad kerning happens, both digitally and humanly.
In many fonts, particularly the sans serif ones fashionable on the Web, "rn" & "m" are at best microscopically distinguishable.
This is a compilation, a reprinting, which has introduced an error.