Adverb play

Another Bizarro, this time punning on the adverb religiously:

Both senses are variants of ‘in a religious manner’. Without the context supplied by the cartoon, religiously would be taken in the subsense ‘faithfully, conscientiously; strictly, scrupulously; fervently’ (from OED3, December 2009, which has citations from 1534 on). But the cartoon conveys a variant of the subsense ‘with religious feeling or conduct; in accordance with the principles of religion; piously, reverently, devoutly’ (the earliest subsense, with cites from c1384 on) — in particular, ‘in religious dress’, complete with mitre.

4 Responses to “Adverb play”

  1. John Lawler Says:

    The slice of berry pie on the sidewalk in the SW corner is probably meant to represent his berry pie-ous attitude.

  2. Gordon P. Hemsley Says:

    The way I understand the non-literal meaning of “religiously” is more like “systematically; habitually, at regular intervals”—a meaning which I don’t think is covered by ‘faithfully, conscientiously; strictly, scrupulously; fervently’.

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