Archive for the ‘Nouning’ Category

Backup life

July 4, 2023

If you’re a normal person and you run out of something in your household — toilet paper, granola, cleaning products, cheese, plastic trash bags, whatever — you just go out to a relevant store and pick it up. If you’re (essentially) housebound, as I am, in this situation, you have to plan ahead and get backup supplies delivered, so that replacements are to hand when you need them. (Even normal people might providently plan for the future and also save time and money on buying in bulk by laying in backup supplies.)

In any case, I’m obliged to live the backup life and have stocks of stuff hanging around — many of them piled up on what was once a sofabed in the study of my condo (which otherwise has very little usable storage space). At the moment, it has boxes or piles of Kleenex, toilet paper, paper towels, and wet wipes. There are similar stashes elsewhere in the condo. I spend a good bit of time ordering in this stuff, mostly through Amazon.


Don’t call me a “creative”

February 5, 2023

Today’s (2/5/23) Doonesbury strip  shows us artist J.J. Caucus and her husband Zeke Brenner in her studio, with J.J. fuming about being labeled a creative:

(#1) “I’m a noun, not an adjective!” But then Zeke shifts the ground from be a creative to be creative, noting (in effect) that be creative denotes a characteristic, not an identity, so “less pressure”

J.J.’s complaint is about the nouning of the adj. creative, yielding a C[ount] noun creative that apparently just means ‘creative person’, but she’s more than a creative person, she’s a professional creator, an artist. As it turns out, the C noun creative is a great deal more specific that ‘creative person’ — and in its established usage it refers to a type of professional in the advertising industry, so in fact doesn’t apply to J.J. at all. Gripe on, J.J.!


Where to door knock and cold call

October 19, 2022

… and, eventually, how to abracadabra things out of sight. Yes, it’s Verbing Day on AZ Blog!

Politics and real estate: to door knock. It started on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC on 10/11, with the cite presented here in its larger context:

(#1) to door knock / door-knock ‘knock on doors’ (in political canvassing): a N + V verb, whose origin lies in a back-formation from the synthetic compound door knocking / door-knocking

The semantics / pragmatics of the synthetic compound is specialized — not merely knocking on doors, but doing so in specific sociocultural settings (political canvassing and door-to-door solicitations by real estate agents, in particular) — and this specialization is shared by the 2pbfV (two-part back-formed V)


Men’s Briefs: the locked gaze

February 20, 2022

(A little tribute to, among other things, man-on-man anal sex in the Cowboy position, and the facial expressions and gaze accompanying the act — so definitely not for kids or the sexually modest. There are fuzzed-up images below; the photos with the genitals untouched are in a parallel posting “The locked gaze” on AZBlogX today.)

A Falcon Studios e-mail ad yesterday:


The St. Patrick’s Day spriticide

March 21, 2021

The event: the leprechaun has been murdered, with a porcelain figure. How to describe the event as concisely as possible? Today’s Rhymes with Orange strip shows us a police detective who can do it in three words. (And it’s been set to music!)


The signs of speechlessness

December 7, 2019

What do you say to convey that you can’t find any words to describe your state of mind? What’s the verbal equivalent of the speechlessness emoji 😶 ? (Which literally has no mouth, indicating an inability to speak.)

Some people have conventional expressions for this purpose. Here’s one of them, homina, in today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:


As a cartoon bonus, we get the (metonymic) conversion of an expression evincing some state of mind — homina evincing bewilderment, surprise, or shock to the point of speechlessness —  to a measure noun denoting a degree of the evinced state of mind — homina as a unit of bewilderment etc. A special sort of nouning, generally available for interjections:

I give that experience three eeks / ughs / ewws / ouches / …


Heavenly POP

October 18, 2019

It’s been about ten days since the last POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau) here — a 10/9/19 posting “Two old cartoon friends”, with doctors without border collies — so, on the theory that regular POPs are good for the mind and the spirit, today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo, at the very gates of heaven:

pearly gates + gate-crasher

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

Appreciating the cartoon requires that you be familiar with the pop-culture story (whose source is the Christian Bible) of St. Peter at the pearly gates to heaven; that you be familiar with the belief (spread by an 1989 animated movie) that all dogs go to heaven; that you know the idiomatic synthetic compound gate-crasher; and that you know the idiomatic nouning plus-one. That’s a lot of cultural stuff.


Am I a bird?

July 4, 2019

The 7/3 Rhymes With Orange takes us to the Home for Aged Superheroes, where Superman is unsure of the volant creature he sees in the mirror and fears he’s going blind, or slipping into dementia (an unusually poignant theme for a cartoon):

(#1) In the land of the caped superheroes


bait and tackle

December 27, 2018

A coordination of two nouns, conventionally paired in bait & tackle shop, referring to a store that provides supplies for sport fishermen. Like this place in Benicia CA:


And elaborately played on in the Bizarro  from December 23rd:


Shake, shake, shake that death rattle

November 15, 2018

Today’s Calvin and Hobbes re-play has the two protagonists engaged in a heavy game of Cowboys and Indians:


A play on two senses of rattle, denoting either a sound or a thing that makes a sound.