Archive for the ‘Idioms’ Category

Ask AMZ

November 24, 2014

Two usage queries came to me recently: one on uses of a noun doxy; one on two informal idioms (the whole shooting match and wham, bam, thank you ma’am (with some variant versions)): Max Vasilatos reported coming across two Californian young men, one of whom didn’t understand the first, the other of whom didn’t understand the second.

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Monday quartet

November 10, 2014

Four varied cartoons in this morning’s crop: a Zits on address terms; a Scenes From a Multiverse on ; a Rhymes With Orange on case-marking of pronouns with than; and a Zippy reviving Doggie Diner.

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One by one …

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Three from New Scientist

September 4, 2014

From the 8/30/14 New Scientist, three stories: one with a piece of technical terminology I hadn’t heard before, and two perfectly straightforward stories (on the mapping of Antarctic Ocean life and on the mating customs of the giraffe weevil) with some language play that’s characteristic of much science writing.

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hash browns, home fries

July 22, 2014

Two potato preparations often offered as alternative side dishes for breakfasts in American diners and the like: Would you like hash browns or home fries with that? Both have idiomatic names, names that in fact are easily confused: both are browned by pan-frying, so the words browns and fries have some motivation in their names, while hash and home are simply puzzling.

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Elephants

July 18, 2014

Today’s Zippy, set not in a diner but at a carwash:

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Given the Space Needle in the background, the cartoon is clearly set in Seattle. And in fact Elephant Car Wash locations are all over the area. A representation in a Michael Birawer canvas painting:

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The title alludes to the idiom the elephant in the room.

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Anemone pun

July 1, 2014

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

Mistaken anemone for mistaken identity. Phonologically distant, but interpretable because mistaken identity is an idiom, a formulaic expression, which is, moreover, appropriate to the context of the cartoon.

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Fathers Day Five

June 15, 2014

An unusually big crop of cartoons this morning, including one (a Rhymes With Orange) on stereotypes about men’s tastes (for Fathers Day). Plus another Zits with the stereotype of chatty teenage girls; another strip (a Mother Goose and Grimm) on Yoda’s syntax; a Zippy on synonyms for disapproving; and a Bizarro on the extension of metaphors to simulacra.

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Three more diverse

May 24, 2014

Three recent cartoons on divergent subjects: a Bizarro with language play turning on ambiguity; a Scenes From a Multiverse with metacommentary by the characters; and another classic Watergate Doonesbury, from 1974, with the denominal verb to stonewall.

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Five for Friday

May 18, 2014

Five items, several of which lead to more complex topics: a Harry Bliss cartoon that I caught, reprinted, in the Funny Times for May; a Zippy on art forgery; a One Big Happy with a kid eggcorn; a Zits with alliteration and rhyme (and the sexual marketplace); and a Rhymes With Orange on consonants and vowels.

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Formulaic: Zippy, OBH

May 4, 2014

Two Sunday cartoons touching on formulaic language: a Zippy with clichés, a One Big Happy with a familiar quotation in a German accent:

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The line between clichés and idioms is not always clear (and I’m not at all sure that making the distinction clearer would be particularly useful): I’d class have a frog in one’s throat and zip your lip, for instance, as idioms.

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The German heavy from a bad movie, with a standard line.


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