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.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Ouch. The slice of pie is, of course, one of the many “hidden symbols” that Piraro sprinkles throughout his strips. There’s also an eyeball in this one.

  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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