X magnet

In my posting on Einstein quotes in Zippy, I referred to Einstein as a “quote magnet” (using a felicitous expression from Fred Shapiro) — that is, someone who attracts quotes (meaning that quotations from other sources are attributed to that person).

The 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 sometimes a girl) or something (a car, for instance) that attracts women. A few examples:

Want to be a Chick Magnet?
How to make any woman want you (link)

Solar electric car a chick magnet? Wall Street Journal Uncovers ZAP Xebra Xero (link)

It’s Official: The Tesla Roadster Sport Is A Babe Magnet (link)

From chick magnet came dick magnet, referring to someone (a girl, or sometimes a guy) or something that attracts men. As in:

[Theory of a Deadman, “Bad Girlfriend”] My Girlfriend’s a dick magnet, My Girlfriend’s gotta have it (link)

There are probably also examples of dick magnet ‘someone who attracts dicks, i.e. jerks’. Certainly there are examples of jerk magnet:

Are You a Jerk Magnet? … You’ve been known to attract real jerky guys from time to time (link)

No doubt there are more X magnet examples, for other X, out there.

6 Responses to “X magnet”

  1. Jeff Shaumeyer Says:

    Arnold, you might be interested to know about the similar “Matthew Effect” (as it’s known to a few of us). There’s some information in footnote #3 of my blog posting on “The plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data'”, in which attribution goes to the most eminent of plausible candidates.

  2. Danny Bloom Says:

    Arnold, interesting. I think you are right, quote magnet comes from the babe magnet term, and now, drum roll, Shapiro’s coinage has been accepted by Urban Dictionary’s astute editors as his term and is now part of the UD website. You will notice that the editors paid home to Dr Shapiro by referencing the defintion and quoted example as submitted by someone’s name spelled backwards. That was our way to saying “thanks” to Fred and ….bravo, sir!

  3. Danny Bloom Says:

    Urban Dictionary defines quote magnet
    this way — (n.) – a famous person, living or dead, who people often attribute quotes to, even though he or she might not have actually said the
    things they are quoted as saying; examples are Albert Einstein, Mark
    Twain and Winston Churchill, among others. And gives this example:
    “You know, Einstein is a real quote magnet. There are websites and
    blogs all over the Internet that attribute quotes to him that in some
    cases he never uttered or wrote. It’s hard to know what’s true and
    what’s not!” Fred did not submit it, I did, thanks to your good post the other day that alerted me to this great coinage, but I paid homage and honor to Dr S by noting the his name backwards in the ref on UD. Could make a great Ben Zimmer On Language column one day….

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

    […] has been mounting; X drag and X magnet are the ones I’ve posted about most recently (here and here). X Nazi came up on Language Log back in 2004, in a brief posting by Mark Liberman, […]

  5. And on bears… « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] The Family Circus cartoon, adapted for gay men by reference to bears. (Plus a use of the X magnet […]

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

    […] X magnet (link) […]

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