Archive for the ‘Conversion’ Category

Word times: two Ruthies, three Psychs

June 24, 2016

Annals of lexical confusions and innovations. Two word problems from Ruthie in the cartoon One Big Happy (two recent strips), a word confusion and two innovations from the tv show Psych.

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binge-bingeing

May 7, 2016

The wonderful creation of Pierce in Zits:

binge-bingeing is the PRP form of a verb to binge-binge, which is an instance of one or the other of two different compound V constructions of the form to N + V, whose semantic and pragmatic differences are small enough to ignore here.

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Down on the farm

May 5, 2016

(Mostly about plants, but there are some points of linguistic interest.)

Yesterday, talk between Juan Gomez and me about weeds, prompted by my revisiting a wonderful gift from Steven Levine back in 2011 (posted about here on 7/6/11): Farm Weeds of Canada (2nd ed. 1923; 1st ed 1909), edited by George H. Clark, illustrations by Norman Criddle (Department of Agricuture, Dominion of Canada). More on the book and its excellent illustrations in a later posting; here the topic is two questions from Juan: What’s your favorite weed? What’s your least favorite weed?

Not easy questions, especially because each asks for just one plant, though a reasonable person might have several candidates. Then there’s the question of what counts as a weed; the Farm Weeds book isn’t just about plants growing where they’re not wanted (a common definion of weed), it’s about pest plants growing where they’re not wanted; any number of plants thrive as weeds in waste and disturbed places without giving grief — the little (scarlet) pimpernel, Anagallis, for instance (disussion in a 9/6/15 posting here) — and any number of lawn or garden escapes are in fact plants growing where they’re not wanted (escaped lawn grasses can easily become pests, in fact), but people don’t call them weeds (their ornamental function seems to take precedence). Finally, most weeds, even very invasive ones, have their good points: the common oxalis in these parts has lush green clover-like leaves and gorgeous yellow flowers, but it’s terribly invasive; poison ivy is dreadful, but its glossy leaves are handsome, and they turn bright red in the fall..

Having unloaded these reservations, I’ll still answer Juan’s questions: goldenrod good, dodder really really bad. With plates from Farm Weeds.

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icing

April 26, 2016

A Speed Bump cartoon from a little while ago, found on Pinterest:

The patient in the doctor’s office is — remember, this is Cartoon World — a gingerbread man, complaining of a sore knee. This sets things up for a play on the ambiguity of the verb form icing, related to either one of two verbs ice; one of them is related to the mass noun icing (in the U.S., parallel to frosting). From NOAD2 on this mass noun:

a mixture of sugar with liquid or butter, typically flavored and colored, and used as a coating for cakes or cookies

This substance mass noun icing and the verb ice ‘to decorate a cake with icing’ are in a very close synchronic relationship, so close that it’s hard to say which is basic and which derived (note: the verb could be back-derived from the noun); the history looks equally unclear, and the same relationships hold (in the U.S.) between the mass noun frosting and the verb frost (as in frost the cake). Somewhere in all of this is a metaphor relating the appearance of the cake-decorating substance to the appearance of accumulations of ice or frost.

The other verb ice, not well covered in the dictionaries I’ve looked at, is a at root a simple verbing of the noun ice referring to frozen water and meaning roughly ‘chill with ice’, but specialized in reference to ice therapy for sore muscles or joints. (I have joint problems all over the place, and so have cold packs to use for icing these joints.)

plate my meal

April 19, 2016

Instructions on meals from the Freshly firm, which is currently supplying me with food at home:

[FR] We recommend plating your meal after heating [that is, after heating it in the microwavable tray it comes in]

This has the verbing to plate; from NOAD2:

serve or arrange (food) on a plate or plates before a meal: overcooked vegetables won’t look appetizing, no matter how they are plated.

Two things: why verb the noun plate? And why not other dinnerware nouns?

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Annals of verbing: to long-press

March 23, 2016

Benjamin Barrett, back on the 21st, posting to ADS-L:

Apple has just released iOS 9.3, which includes the verb to long-press:

Show thumbnails instead of large images and attachments by long-pressing on any image or attachment in a note

Long-press on an Evernote Export file to import its contents into Notes

We first get the nominal long press as a specialized technical term in the mobile phone industry; there’s evidence (see below) that this goes back at least to 2004. I don’t follow this literature, but Barrett’s is the first report of a verbing so far.

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Jeremy, adulting

March 7, 2016

Today’s Zits:

A natural verbing of the noun adult, pretty much immediately understandable. Grammar Girl (Mignon Fogarty) looked at the verb back near the end of 2014, when she chose adulting as her 2014 Word of the Year.

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aussieBum, Shearing the Rams, and Slim Dusty

January 29, 2016

On our last visit to Australia (in “Bruce Bruce Bruce” on the 27th), we started out in Aussie underwear (the Daily Jocks AUS line), moved through Monty Python and Bruce as a  stereotypically Aussie name (and in the U.S., as a stereotypically gay name) and on to Barry Humphries and two Australian characters he created, with notes on the Aussie celebration of working-class masculinity (amiable crudity, matiness) and disdain for effete Pommies (Brits). At the end, a promise:

For a later posting, on Aussie masculinity (and class): aussieBum underwear, Shearing the Rams by Tom Roberts, and Slim Dusty.

Now’s the time. Looking ahead: two images of Aussie men in their aussieBum swimwear and underwear, a surfer and a jackaroo:

(#1_

(#2)

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butt/booty, dial/call

January 20, 2016

Yesterday’s Rhymes With Orange:

The nouns butt and booty overlap in their uses, and so do the verbs dial and call, and so do the related nouns dial and call. However… the compound nouns butt dial and booty call (also the related verbs butt dial and booty call) are both slang idioms, and they aren’t at all interchageable.

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Today’s double entendre

December 30, 2015

Briefly, an ad from the Lucas Film (gay porn) studio, for their subscription service, with a double entendre that they probably couldn’t have avoided but almost surely welcomed:

Mac’s subscription to the Lucas Film service enabled him to
Download three or four times a day — even at work, though
There the practice gave new meaning to the expression
Messy desk.

So: a nouning of the verb to download (digital content) OR the noun load ‘(large) amount of material being carried or stored’ (used with reference to semen: a cumload), so that the verb to download in the caption conveys ‘to masturbate to ejaculation’.