Archive for the ‘Synthetic compounds’ Category

Morphology Friday 2: back-formed freedom-fight

October 3, 2014

Today’s Doonesbury blast from the past:


Start with the synthetic compounds freedom fighter and freedom fighting. From which by back-formation comes a verb to freedom-fight, of the form N + V. Which then has a PST using the PST of its head fight: freedom-fought. Voilà.


October 4, 2013

In the latest (October 7th) New Yorker, a Talk of the Town piece, “Dept. of Accumulation: Ballhawks” by Reeves Wiedeman, beginning:

Zack Hample caught his first major-league baseball when he was twelve — a defining moment in most American childhoods, but one that left him unsatisfied. If I can catch one ball, he thought, why not a thousand? Two decades later, a thirty-six-year-old bookstore clerk, with a shaved head and a soul patch, he is now the world’s preëminent ballhawk.



August 24, 2013

Just posted on “Men and their pickles”, which brings me to (actual) pickles and (figurative, sexual) pickles.  It’s well in advance of National Pickle Day (November 14th), but here’s a pile of (cucumber) pickles to tide you over:



Annals of back-formation

August 7, 2013

Two recent contributions, of different sorts, from friends: to truck-chase and to harsh-parent.


Brief mention: “You onion-peel so slowly”

July 24, 2013

Said by character Dani Santino to character Nico Careles in the episode “V3 for Vendetta” (7/17/13) of the cable tv series Necessary Roughness. Taking the two-part back-formation to onion-peel into new, figurative, territory.


Another OBH roundup

May 16, 2013

From Benita Bendon Campbell, three more One Big Happy strips: on questions, compound nouns, and tense in nouns. And then, as a bonus, four strips on Ruthie’s interpretations of words.


Yet another synthetic compound / back-formation

April 16, 2013

… this time fitting into my gay sex postings, about the verb spit-roast. I didn’t see it for a while, because the OED seems to treat the verb as a direct compound, from N spit + V roast: ‘roast on a spit’. But N + V compounds are not particularly common — except as the end result of synthetic compounding followed by back-formation.


Synthetic compounds and back-formation: go-go truth-telling

April 15, 2013

Once I start looking at synthetic compounds and back-formation, new examples pop up all over the place. Two today: the synthetic compounds truth-teller (and truth-telling) and  go-go dancer (and go-go dancing) — from which, the verbs to truth-tell and to go-go dance. (more…)

Synthetic compounds and back-formed verbs: rape

April 15, 2013

From discussions of rape in recent news, the synthetic compounds slut-shaming and victim-blaming — and, no surprise, the back-formed verbs slut-shame and victim-blame.



April 7, 2013

From Maureen Dowd’s NYT op-ed column (“Can We Get Hillary Without the Foolery?”) today:

She was supposed to go off to a spa, rest and get back in shape after her grueling laps around the world. But instead she’s a tornado of activity, speaking at global women’s conferences in D.C. and New York; starting to buck-rake on the speaking circuit; putting out a video flipping her position to support gay marriage; and signing a lucrative deal for a memoir on world affairs — all as PACs spring up around her, Bill Clinton and Carville begin to foment, and Chelsea lands on the cover of this week’s Parade, talking about how “unapologetically and unabashedly” biased she is about her mother’s future.

I was stopped short for a while by buck-rake, but then I figured it out: buck-raking is attested, so buck-rake could be a back-formation from it; and muckrake / muckraking is probably involved, so there’s likely to be a portmanteau with buck ‘dollar’ in there.



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