Archive for the ‘Abbreviation’ Category

Zippo, the comic strip

March 25, 2021

The 3/14 Zippy strip shows Claude and Griffy (and eventually Zippy too) caught up in what seems to be affixoid attraction (similar to word attraction), an irrational appreciation of or enthusiasm for a particular word-part — in this case, the word-final element –o (whatever its source might be):


(#1) All of the panels except the fourth are framed as two-person exchanges, in which the second is a response to the first: offering a competing alternative (panel 1), trading insults (panels 2 and 3), or expressing appreciation (panel 5)

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A jointed-limb portmanteau and a sugary front-clipping

March 18, 2021

Two recent Wayno/Piraro Bizarro strips, from the 15th and (for St. Patrick’s Day) the 17th, both of linguistic interest: among other things, the portmanteau arthropodcast in the first; and the front-clipping ‘shmallows (for marshmallows, of the psychedelic sort) in the second:

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Beheaded spots

March 3, 2021

In yesterday’s posting “The lost years for LGBT seniors”, about a Talk of the Town piece from the New Yorker, my attention was drawn to spot illustrations as a form of the cartoonist’s art and also to the term the magazine used to refer to a spot illustration: spot, an abbreviated version of the N + N compound, specifically a beheading of the two-word expression, in which the head element illustration is suppressed. (This sense of spot seems not to have found its way into standard dictionaries, but the magazine uses it consistently, in every issue.)

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The bull validates Peter’s family

February 7, 2021

Three more Bizarro cartoons from the past, from another crop on Pinterest, with: an allusion you need to catch to understand the cartoon; a complex pun; and laugh-inducing names.

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Two parrots and a pear tree

February 1, 2021

On Pinterest recently, a board devoted to Bizarro cartoons, including a fair number relevant to this blog but not previously posted here — from which, the three below (all the work of Dan Piraro alone, without Wayno’s collaboration). Two are about parrots and crackers (the first is also an instance of the Psychiatrist cartoon meme); the third offers a groaner pun on a sexual idiom previously discussed on this blog. (I’ll start with a digression on the most common way parrots figure in cartoons, as adjuncts to pirates.)

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Frequently asked questions

January 31, 2021

A Roz Chast cartoon in the latest (2/1/21) New Yorker:

Questions asked often enough that they border on clichés. They’re frequently asked questions — but they’re not Frequently Asked Questions, Frequently Asked Questions being an idiomatic expression usually reduced to an alphabetic abbreviation, the noun FAQ.

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What question are you asking?

December 20, 2020

The 11/27 One Big Happy strip, which came up in my comics feed recently:

The father’s question, asking for a choice, appears to be an opinion-seeking question, of a sort that adults often exchange amongst one another to make pleasant small talk or as a kind of game. But note the father’s open laptop: the opinion-seeking question is being used here as a form of test question, in which the kids are supposed to display their knowledge of culturally significant people. And the kids are perfectly aware that the exercise is some kind of test.

There is, unfortunately, another variable here: the father’s question offers choices at two points: what person (that’s the question he’s intending to ask) and living or dead (which the father intends to be clarifying the range of persons that could be possible answers, but which the kids take to be the question at issue.

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Books in the age of Zoom

December 16, 2020

A recent Tom Gauld bookish cartoon:

Commenters tend to note that the first two piles seem to be way too small for most serious book people.

Sign of the times: “Books I want people to see behind me on Zoom calls”.

Fear of death on a desert island

December 13, 2020

The 12/11 Zippy cartoon contemplates fear of death on a New Yorker desert island:


(#1) No, no, the fount of desert island gags is inexhaustible!

The strip is self-referential: Zippy reflects on his being in a cartoon. It is a Desert Island cartoon, and with its reference to the fear of dying, it alludes to another cartoon meme, the Grim Reaper.

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Acronymic mnemonics

October 18, 2020

Yesterday, in “One Big Happy mnemonics”, the distinction between expression mnenomics and name, or acronymic mnemonics, providing three spectacular examples of the former for spelling English words: among them, for ARITHMETIC:

 rat iTom’s house might eat Tom’s ice cream.

Now, a revisit to my 9/8/10 posting “NICE ‘n’ RICE”, with examples of the latter type.

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