Archive for the ‘Idioms’ Category

New idioms

April 17, 2018

Now on the Dictionary.com site, the posting “Are New Idioms Ever Created?”:

Many idioms—expressions that are not taken literally—are so old and so familiar that we don’t think twice about using them. We say, for example, “it’s raining cats and dogs” to indicate that it’s pouring outside, and “comfortable as an old shoe” to explain an easy and familiar relationship. We can trace the etymology of some idioms to books and sayings that were first used hundreds of years ago, while the origins of others are, frankly, mysterious.

We wondered, though, do we still coin new idioms? To find out, we asked linguists, people who study language.

(more…)

Water source of questionable information

April 7, 2018

This New Scientist cartoon by Tom Gauld:

Five nominals of the form N1 of Mod N2. The first panel has the model for the other four: the metaphorical idiom family fount of all N2, where N2 refers to a kind of information. The last four are somewhat snide plays on this original. In effect, the cartoon supplies a template for generating fresh — in two senses —  metaphorical idiom families on the basis of an attested one.

(more…)

Ruthie confronts idiomaticity

April 3, 2018

The One Big Happy from March 3rd:

Ruthie doesn’t know which expressions are conventionalized (and have to be reproduced exactly) and which are fresh creations (possibly metaphorical, but made up on the spot) — whose parts can be varied by substitution.

(more…)

V-headed compounds

March 27, 2018

I’ll start with the seasonally relevant compound verb to snow blow / snow-blow / snowblow and go on from there to an animus, in some quarters, against such V-headed compounds (on the grounds that they are unnecessary innovations, because the language already has syntactic means for expressing their meanings — in this case, to blow (the) snow away from).

(#1)

(more…)

An idiom comes to life

March 27, 2018

Today’s re-play of Calvin and Hobbes has Calvin in bed:

(#1)

From Gary Martin’s Phrase Finder site:

What’s the meaning of the phrase ‘A frog in the throat’? Temporary hoarseness caused by phlegm in the back of the throat.

(more…)

Three Saturday lingtoons

March 24, 2018

A portmanteau (fishwich), a perfect pun (on the lam / lamb), an imperfect pun (bar / bark mitzvah):

(more…)

without a care in the world

March 20, 2018

Today, Zippy takes on idiomaticity and is unsettled:

(more…)

Adventures in antonymy

March 14, 2018

Yesterday’s Bizarro/Wayno collaboration:

(#1)

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

From NOAD:

noun vanity: 1 excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements. Antonym modesty.

(more…)

Mistakes in avian medicine

March 13, 2018

Brought to my attention on Facebook by Chris Hansen, this grotesque Bizarro from 2013:

(#1)

A real test in cartoon understanding, this one. Some readers on Facebook never got it, many (including me) took a few moments to figure it out.

(more…)

tooken by the senses taker

January 4, 2018

The 12/5/17 One Big Happy, which came by in my comics feed a few days ago:

(#1)

Three things here: Ruthie’s eggcornish reshaping of the unfamiliar word census (ending in /s/) as the familiar senses (ending in /z/); her tooken as the PSP of the verb take; and (in the last panel) her use of take ‘tolerate, stand, endure’ (here with the modal can of ability and also negation; and with the pronominal object this).

(more…)