Snowclonelet composites

Since it just came up on ADS-L with reference to “X porn” (in examples like “food porn”): English has a number of N1 + N2 composite patterns, most of them non-subsective (the denotation of the composite is not within the denotation of N2), but all of them exhibiting some semantic oddities, and all of them formulaic to some degree, hence snowclone-like. In other words, “snowclonelet composites”. My current collection — which I’m sure is far from complete — has instances of

X fag, X porn, X queen, X rage, X virgin, X whore

The details are different for different cases. Some of them have been discussed on ADS-L (“X porn”, “X rage”), one (“X virgin”) on Language Log (here and here), the rest documented so far just from my e-mail and from Google searches.

11 Responses to “Snowclonelet composites”

  1. mollymooly Says:

    “X fag” calls to mind “X hag”, X = bag, drag, stag; can’t think of non-rhyming compounds for it, though.

  2. hsknotes Says:

    Aside from ‘rage’, all the other ones appear to related to sex. Is there something to that? I can’t think of any other ones myself, other than ‘complex’, which I’m not sure totally works. ‘complex”s snowclone couplet usage itself seems to stem from the original uses which were themselves related to sex (Oedipus complex, Electra complex). The online etymological dictionary pins the beginning of this psychological noun usage of complex at Jung in 1907. Nowadays, as was probably Jung’s intention, we use suffix it to tons of things.

    You complained on language log about some commenter and said you could just come here and post, but you have comments open here as well! Why not moderate comments on both places and not let things bother you so much? I’ve ran into this problem a few times where I myself have offended people and I’ve just learned that people my age (maybe under 30?) are really very often shocked when other people get so taken aback by comments that were never intended to offend. I think to many of us the internet is a very unreal place, so we find it odd that people have such strong emotional reactions. Actual human interaction moderates and allows two parties to negotiate an act of comment/criticism in ways that can’t be done online (or aren’t done due to laziness/the wish to save time), so many have adapted by not taking things too seriously.

  3. hsknotes Says:

    on the airplane today I saw one I’ve never seen before,

    ‘miles fairy’ where ‘miles’ was being replacing ‘tooth’.

    It was an ad encouraging people to donate their frequent flier miles to charity.

  4. twitter tweet « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] with twitter as their first element. Some of them fall right in with known types of “snowclonelet composites“: twitter fag, twitter whore. Others are possible candidates for new types: twitter wank, […]

  5. X magnet « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] X magnet pattern for ’someone or something that attracts Xs’ is a snowclonelet, the model for which might have been chick/babe magnet, used to refer to someone (a guy, or […]

  6. drag « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] is a use of drag (OED2: ‘feminine attire worn by a man’) in a snowclonelet pattern X drag, conveying roughly ‘attire appropriate for/to X’ (OED2 glosses this use […]

  7. X Nazi « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] (from my posting here). […]

  8. X fag « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] but not further discussed, in my “Snowclonelet composites” posting from 2009: X fag (roughly ‘X fan, X enthusiast’), which I became aware of back in 2008 […]

  9. doing X « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] drag queen, which OED2 has from 1941 (George Legman) on; on the X queen snowclonelet, see here; […]

  10. X porn « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] porn, book porn, house porn, and real estate porn, none of which refer to actual pornography. From my 2009 posting on snowclonelet composites: Since it just came up on ADS-L with reference to “X porn” (in […]

  11. queens | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] the purposes of this posting, put aside the snowclonelet composite X queen (drama queen etc.), which deserves its own treatment, and consider queen on its own. Its […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: