Today’s Zippy, with an invisible Zippy haunting Eureka CA (plus a note on the idiom bucket list):
Archive for the ‘Idioms’ Category
It started with tv commercials for home security systems, for example:
No-show alerts to make sure your kids get home safe (SafeMart systems)
SafeWatch VideoView allows you to keep an eye on who is knocking at your front door, watch over a vacation home, or make sure your kids are safe. (ADT systems)
These have the idiom make sure with a (that) Clause complement. But it turns out that there are two understandings of such examples:
[verifying] make sure (that) Clause: ‘verify that Clause is true’
[causative] make sure (that) Clause: ’cause it to come about that Clause is true’
The security systems intend the verifying reading — they provide a way to see if your kids are, in fact, safe(ly) at home — but of course they can’t ensure that this will be the case.
Today’s Pearls Before Swine:
Stephan Pastis rolls with the pun (on the idiom/proverb to kill two birds with one stone), and Rat upbraids him (as usual). Rat also produces another pun, on “Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday”, by the Rolling Stones.
From the (Palo Alto) Daily News of October 4th, this letter from Tejinder Uberoi of Los Altos:
Unconcerned that the nation is going to hell in a hen basket, the tired old men of the Republican Party are circling the wagons in a last-ditch effort to defund the Affordable Care Act.
Hen basket (or henbasket) for handbasket (or hand basket), making somewhat more sense of an opaque idiom (opaque for people who aren’t familiar with the compound handbasket) whose only virtue appears to be its alliteration; well, you collect eggs in a basket. Still, such a basket is awfully small for going to hell in, as is a handbasket.
Heard on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, an instance of get pelvic (with someone) ‘have sex (with someone)’, a euphemistic idiom based on the image of the pelvis as the cradle of the genitals. I don’t recall having heard the expression in other contexts, but it seems to have been picked up in Buffy fanfic, where there are many occurrences. Two examples:
Set after season six. After she got back but before they got pelvic, Spike leaves … (link)
Gunn just didn’t get the finer points of the Buffy/Angel relationship, ‘Because they like to get pelvic and now they can ’cause Angel got his soul anchored… (link)
Caught in passing in a posting of mine on AZBlogX about porn actor Boomer Banks (I am not making this name up), who’s notable (at least) for his very long and thick cock (illustrated in my posting), this item in his Rentboy ad (image #3 in the posting):
(1) I clean up well
conveying that Banks can make himself presentable as an engaging companion for social occasions as well as serving as a hot and sweaty sexual partner.
The idiom to clean up well/nicely is a “reflexive/middle-voice” verbal: (1) is roughly paraphrasable as “I clean myself up well” or “I can be cleaned up well/easily”. That is, the referent of the subject is the Patient (the affected participant) in the event, rather than the Agent. Compare the classic This book reads easily.
A set of One Big Happy strips in which little Ruthie confronts the language: a spectacular mondegreen, some other misunderstandings based on phonological similarity (with more familiar words replacing unusual ones), and some troubles with idiomatic usages.