Uplift

Yesterday’s One Big Happy, with Ruthie coping with figurative language hidden in everyday expressions:

Here it’s facelift, with its image of treating sagging facial tissue by surgically lifting it up. But how is Ruthie to know that? Especially since facelift has been extended to related surgical procedures.

From NOAD2:

a cosmetic surgical operation to remove unwanted wrinkles by tightening the skin of the face.

(so not just lifting sagging tissue, but tightening skin in general). For most people who use the compound facelift, it’s surely just a fixed expression, and the sense of lifting is no longer psychologically salient. Ruthie, however, hopes that the compound will be compositional, involving lift ‘a raising to a higher position’, understood with face as the thing raised — a N+N compound of a very common type.

Note that once facelift is available for one kind of improvement, it can be extended metaphorically to other kinds of improvement — as it has been. From NOAD2:

a procedure carried out to improve the appearance of something: the station has undergone a multimillion-dollar facelift.

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