the Vegas idea

A recent One Big Happy has Ruthie, once again, coping with an expression unfamiliar to her — the negative polarity item (NPI) have the vaguest idea, under the scope of negative n’t in doesn’t have the vaguest idea — by interpreting vaguest as a phonologically close item familiar to her from watching daytime television: Vegas, short for Las Vegas.:

In fact, in casual speech, vaguest commonly lacks a final [t], so that it’s either homophonous with Vegas or differs from it only in the unaccented vowel in the final syllable (high in vagues‘, mid in Vegas — the same difference, for these speakers, as in Rose’s vs. Rosa’s).

Still, there’s some delight to be found in the concept of having the Vegas idea.

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