Archive for the ‘Idioms’ Category

The elephant in therapy

August 8, 2018

Today’s Rhymes With Orange combines two cartoon memes, Psychiatrist and Elephant in the Room:

(#1)

Not the first time this combination has been drawn.

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Mud, shit, and chocolate

July 30, 2018

Caught on re-run tv yesterday, in the Law & Order S19 E10 episode “Pledge” (from 1/21/09):

Your entire case rests on this girl’s testimony. If her only impetus to cooperate is greed, you’re in trouble. Who dangled money in front of her in the first place?

The cops. They knew she was in debt, so they pressed her pretty hard.

It’s going to look like we bought her testimony. What a mud sandwich this is turning into.

And only a few months before that, in an emotional  9/29/08 speech on the floor of the U.S. Congress by Rep. John Boehner in support of the TARP bill bailing out big banks:

None of us came here to have to vote for this mud sandwich!

(You can watch it here.)

Yes, mud sandwich. A euphemism for shit sandwich.

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Motherhood and stupid PAP

July 29, 2018

Starting around the 9th, making the rounds on Facebook, a Daily Mail (U.K.) story from 2016, with a disturbing video under the heading (H):

This mother took her children’s phones and shot them to teach them a lesson!

 
(#1) You can watch the video here

(H) presents a series of complexities in interpretation, having to do with the reference of the two anaphoric pronouns them, with respect to two potential antecedent NPs: the determiner NP her children (marked as possessive) and the argument NP her children’s phones (here serving as the direct object argument of the verb took).

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Deterrence, lessons, and examples: pour encourager les autres

June 26, 2018

A typical report on recent approaches to those seeking entrance to the U.S. at the Mexican border, “Here Are the Facts About [REDACTED]’s Family Separation Policy” by Maya Thodan in Time magazine on the 20th:

Administration officials have often characterized these policies [of interviews and hearings] as “loopholes” that are exploited by those seeking to enter the U.S. Some administration officials have suggested that the “zero tolerance” policy could serve as a deterrent for other migrants who are seeking to come to the U.S.

The idea is that applicants should all be rejected, and in a way so savage that others would be deterred from applying. The aim of the policy is, in Voltaire’s pointed phrasing, pour encourager les autres.

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Proper nouns

June 16, 2018

In the One Big Happy of May 30th, Ruthie falls into the pit of use and mention:

There’s an adjective proper as defined by Ruthie’s mother. Then there’s the adjective proper in the idiomatic nominals proper noun / name. And that’s just the beginning of the problem.

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slide in(to) (y)our DM’s

May 10, 2018

(Guys in sexy underwear, yes, but no more than that. Plus a recent slang idiom.)

Daily Jocks yesterday:

   (#1) SLIDE IN OUR DM’S!

We are looking for hot new influencers to promote DailyJocks products, follow us & like our most recent post for the chance to become a DailyJocks influencer.

We will be sending out products for you to take pictures in & share with the world!

Lots of smiling — I’m big on smiles — in these amateur underwear photos, as compared to the sturdy studly pro shots.

The slang initialism DM (for direct message) I already knew, but the larger idiom slide in(to) (y)our DMs was new to me (but I’m so far from plugged into new things that I should be treated as permanently unplugged).

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POP POP

April 24, 2018

Yesterday’s Zippy had a nutjob in a diner ranting:

Are you trying to lure me into a lexicographical, self-contradicting black hole of word play so heinous it defies logic?

And today, embedded within a thick matrix of allusions pointing in many directions:

a lexicographical, self-contradicting vortex so heinous, it defies Robert Mueller

(#1)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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