cheesy pickup line

From George Takei on Facebook, this elaborate visual pun, presented like a captioned cartoon, with an entertaining disjuncture between the image and the caption:

The cheesiest pickup line ever

(Takei is scandously bad about crediting the sources of the things he posts — he just passes on things he comes across — so I have no idea who created this image or where it was originally posted.)

Three content words, each exhibiting crucial lexical ambiguity: the Adj cheesy, the N pickup, the N line.The whole thing is a N + N compound pickup line modified by the superlative of the Adj.

cheesy. The simplest of the three. From NOAD2:

1 like cheese in taste, smell, or consistency: a pungent, cheesy sauce. [or: 1a containing or composed of cheese or cheeses: cheesy casseroles; (Monty Python) cheesy comestibles; the sense of cheesy in the image above]

2 informal cheap, unpleasant, or blatantly inauthentic: a big cheesy grin | cheesy motel rooms. [the sense of cheesy in the most easily available reading of the caption fior the image, if divorced from the image]

Green’s Dictionary of Slang (vol. 1, p. 1071) treats all the non-literal senses of cheesy, including ‘outdated, unfashionable, cheap and second-rate’, as from the “actual or figurative smell given off by ripe cheese”.

pickup. Here we have a set of specialized senses of the N related to specialized senses of the V + Prt pick up. From NOAD2:

1 (also pickup truck) a small truck with an enclosed cab and open back. [suitable for picking up and transporting loads; the sense of pickup in the image above]

2 an act of collecting a person or goods, especially in a vehicle: curbside pickup | [as modifier]: travel by bus from your local pickup point to your hotel.

3 the reception of signals, especially interference or noise, by electrical apparatus.

4 informal    a casual encounter with someone, with a view to having sexual intercourse. [the sense of pickup in the most easily available reading of the caption for the image, if divorced from the image]

– a person encountered with a view to having sexual intercourse.

5 an improvement in an economic indicator: signs of a pickup in demand.

6 a device that produces an electrical signal in response to some other kind of signal or change, in particular:

– the cartridge of a record player, carrying the stylus.

– a device on a musical instrument, particularly an electric guitar, that converts string vibrations into electrical signals for amplification.

7 Music    a series of introductory notes leading into the opening part of a tune.

8 Fishing    a semicircular loop of metal for guiding the line back onto the spool as it is reeled in.

[as modifier] N. Amer. informali   informal and spontaneous: six players had started a full-court pickup basketball game.

line. Here there are a gigantic number of specialized senses, from which I’ve extracted the relevant two from NOAD2:

a row of people or things: a line of acolytes proceeded down the aisle [the sense of line in the image above]

informal    a false or exaggerated account or story: he feeds me a line about this operation. [the sense of line in the most easily available reading of the caption for the image, if divorced from the image]

So: hauling goods (in the image) or angling for a sexual connection (in the caption).

One Response to “cheesy pickup line”

  1. John Baker Says:

    I think maybe the original photo is a copyrighted image on Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/x376/3780970876/, which according to that page was taken by user x376 on August 1, 2009, and is a picture of Nashville Motor Speedway, Nascar Super Truck Race 2009. He called it “[t]he best pickup line, ever.” I can’t tell who edited the photo by adding the cheeses and came up with the new caption.

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