“beat a urine”

At first glance this looks like word salad, and things aren’t helped much if I tell you that it’s a VP, that it’s attested, and that it wasn’t an inadvertent error. Context, we need context.

From Steve Featherstone’s “Spike Nation”, NYT Magazine of 7/12/15, p. 44:

Kenneth was in prison when he first smoked spike [synthetic marijuana], which he praised as a “miracle drug” because it didn’t show up on a drug test. “An addict is always trying to get slick, always trying to get over, always trying to beat a urine, always trying to beat a parole officer, always trying to get high without getting in trouble,” he said.

So beat a urine means ‘defeat a urine test’, with the N urine standing for the N + N compound urine test, serving as a truncation of it.

From my 4/2/15 posting “Truncation notes”, on the N graveyard standing for the N + N compound graveyard shift:

other nominal composites, in particular N + N compounds, can be treated the same way [as Adj + N composites], with the first (modifying) N standing for the entire compound. That’s what’s going on in working (the) graveyard ‘working (the) graveyard shift’.

In these examples, the first element of a composite (the modifying and non-head element, whether Adj or N) stands for the whole composite.

Now some more examples of N1 for N1 + N2 from my files, in no particular order:

1. greenhouse ‘greenhouse gases’, posted on here

2. pulp ‘pulp fiction’, most commonly in pulps ‘pieces of pulp fiction’. From OED3 (September 2007):

orig. U.S. A popular magazine or book, printed on cheap ‘pulp’ paper and typically lurid or sensational in nature.

3. minority ‘minority member, member of a minority’. From OED3 (March 2002):

U.S. A member of a minority group. Usu. in pl.

4. From Mark Mandel on ADS-L, 4/26/12, bestseller ‘bestseller list’. From the Guardian here:

Turned around in under a month to meet public appetite, it will be followed tomorrow with the second and third books in the trilogy, which are already topping Amazon’s bestseller.

5. dress ‘dress rehearsal’. Cite:

But he was so unsure of the [SNL] sketch at this point that he thought of cutting it completely and reassigning the bin Laden lines. “After dress, I said, “Maybe we should cut the piece out of the show …”  (“Spinning Gaffes Into Gags: Live From New York, It’s Debate Night”, NYT 10/8/12 p. A 12)

On dress ‘clothing, costume, garb’ in dress rehearsal, from OED2:

dress rehearsal   n. a rehearsal of a play in costume, esp. the final rehearsal before the first public performance

6. husband ‘husband pillow’, posted on here

7. chihuahua ‘Chihuahua cheese’, posted on here

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