Archive for the ‘Truncation’ Category


March 2, 2014

From Benjamin Slade, pointers to Chris Hallbeck’s webcomic site Minimumble, with three recent language-related cartoons:

From 2/12/14, treating procrastinator as pro + castinator, with pro treated as a clipping of professional  and so contrasted with amateur (link):


From 2/14/14, language play extracting panda from pandemonium (link):


From 2/24/14, a POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau) (link):


Bed Bath and Beyond (the retail chain) overlapped with Beyond Thunderdome (the movie).

Slang change

February 15, 2014

Yesterday Mark Liberman posted on this Doonesbury cartoon:

Rich in material. The main thing I want to note (as Mark did) is a sense development in the slang verb rock, from an older sense, around at least since 1990 (‘impact strongly’), to a newer sense, the one in the cartoon, around since at least 2007 (‘wear or display conspicuously or proudly’); this is a change from a more objective sense to a more subjective one, such as Elizabeth Traugott has repeatedly discussed.



February 4, 2014

An recent exchange on Facebook (about Gertrude Stein) led to musings on the drug noun hash, which at least historically is a shortening of hashish. One participant noted that these days you don’t see a lot of mentions of hashish, and I remarked that for some people hash was usable as another synonym (among many) for marijuana / cannabis, similar to pot. I was comfortable with that, but not everyone was.


dive bar?

January 14, 2014

Today’s Zippy:

Remarkable drinks.

ADS-L has recently been having a discussion of dive bar and dive. For some posters, dive is just a short version of dive bar ‘disreputable bar’, but for others it’s taken on a life of its own, so that there can be dive restaurants. Hipster joints are s0mething else again.


December 31, 2013

It starts with tlhe clipping amaze for amazing and then goes on to the playful extension amazeballs (or amaze balls). Then both of these can be modified by the slang clipping totes (for totally). And another slang intensive modifier, def, can be added to the mix, giving things like the slogan on this tea towel:



Ungrammatical truncation?

October 20, 2013

From Gail Collins’s op-ed column in the NYT yesterday, “A Ted Cruz On Every Corner”, about recent looniness from Texas lawmakers:

The old center-right standard-bearer, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, is desperately trying to wipe out his reputation as a mainstream politician while he runs for re-election.

“I don’t know about you, but Barack Obama ought to be impeached,” he told a Tea Party gathering recently, with more fervor for the cause than for grammatical construction.

Collins doesn’t explain her objection, but I’m guessing she thinks that Dewhurst should have said:

“I don’t know about you, but I think Barack Obama ought to be impeached.”

(supplying the source of the opinion in the second clause). So she’s treating this case as (roughly) parallel to the truncation of as far as X goes / is concerned to just as far as, which has been widely reviled (for reasons I don’t fully understand).


Miscellany for 9/19/13

September 19, 2013

Twelve items that have come by me recently.



August 23, 2013

My recent postings on slash fiction and imagery, and fan fiction and art, pulled up a series of truncations and clippings, the most notable being manip, a count noun referring to a digital or photo manipulation of an image or video. From “Spike / Marsters” on the 20th:

Angel can be viewed in my previous posting (image #2, and with the Winchester brothers and Spike in a fourgy in #9). Doug Wyman supplied a Spangel [Spike/Angel] manip in a comment to that posting, and here’s another that I like: [#2 in "Spike / Marsters"]

That’s digital or photo manipulation truncated to manipulation, then clipped to manip. Well, it’s short and snappy.


Wednesday puns

July 31, 2013

Two of today’s cartoons: a Dilbert and a Pearls Before Swine, both with elaborate puns:


This turns on the verb weasel, plus the legal phrase (beyond a) reasonable doubt (plus the derivation of adjectives in -able from verbs).


And this one turns on the noun and verb hex, plus the food compound Tex-Mex.

In each case, “getting” the comic requires two pieces of information, from different spheres. (And both beyond weaselable doubt and Hex Mex could be viewed either as elaborate imperfect puns or as complex portmanteaus:  weaselable + beyond reasonable doubt, hex + Tex-Mex.)



July 13, 2013

The latest dance rage. From Wikipedia:

Twerking is a “dance move that involves a person shaking their upper hips and lower hips in an up and down bouncing motion, causing them to shake, ‘wobble’ and ‘jiggle.’” To “twerk” means to “dance in a sexually suggestive fashion by twisting the hips”.



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