slugs

The One Big Happy from 4/10:

Ruthie runs aground on two facts that are sad but true: lexical ambiguity is everywhere, especially for short, common words; and though Ns and Vs frequently come in related pairs, there are a great many gaps in the pairings: not all Ns have been verbed or Vs nouned.

On slug, from NOAD:

noun slug-1: 1 a tough-skinned terrestrial mollusk which typically lacks a shell and secretes a film of mucus for protection. … 2 a slow, lazy person; a sluggard. 3 an amount of an alcoholic drink, typically liquor, that is gulped or poured: he took a slug of whiskey. 4 [a] an elongated, typically rounded piece of metal: the reactor uses embedded slugs of uranium. [b] a counterfeit coin; a token. [c] chiefly North American a bullet, especially one of lead. [d] a missile for an air gun. 5 a line of type in Linotype printing. 6 Computing a part of a URL which identifies a particular page on a website in a form readable by users.

verb slug-1: [with object] drink (something, typically alcohol) in a large draft; swig: she picked up her drink and slugged it straight back.

verb slug-2: informal, chiefly North American [a] [with object] strike (someone) with a hard blow: he was the one who’d get slugged. [b] (slug it out) settle a dispute or contest by fighting or competing fiercely: they went outside to slug it out.

noun slug-2: a hard blow.

That’s slug-1 sense 1 vs. slug-2 sense [a] — historically, and still, distinct lexical items.

It would be possible for a slug to slug, even without arms, but only if the noun slug-1 in sense 1 had a related verb slug-1 meaning ‘move slowly’ (??I took ten minutes to drowsily slug my way out of bed). But tough beans, kid.

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