From Walt Slocombe in yesterday’s mail:
I saw (on another blog that I cannot now find again) a piece on word combinations that include a word originally in general usage that has come to be barely used except in a single combination.
(Walt recalled wend one’s way and cast aspersions.)
I suspect that there are several blogs of this sort, but one I found right away (using the two examples Walt remembered) was this one on “verbal vestigia” — about “words in English that seem to exist only in a single phrase”.
Walt then offered an example of his own:
One from modern politics, is the term “tantamount to election,” — “tantamount” in current usage is almost never encountered except in the context of political systems so dominated by one party (as in the old solid south, today’s heavily gerrymandered legislative districts, and the District of Columbia) that winning the dominant party’s primary is “tantamount to election.”
But his impression that tantamount is almost entirely restricted to tantamount to election is well off the mark.