Archive for the ‘Nouning’ Category

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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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’.

Pockets in his trunks

December 25, 2015

(Only a little about language here, beyond the hanky code, but there is plain talk about gay sex, so this is not for kids or the sexually modest.)

On the 22nd from Daily Jocks, with a sale offer:

Get a massive 20% off the entire DailyJocks Neon Sports Range!  No minumum [note anticipation of the U in the last syllable] spend and no promo code needed + free global shipping! [On the nouning of spend, see my 8/23/12 posting on this blog.]

All made from a super breathable Airmesh and cotton/spandex blend, the jock is a brief-jock style giving you all the front support of a brief with plenty of room at the back [that is, there’s no seat panel], while the [low-rise] trunk features deep side pockets in case you need to keep anything handy.

Available in black and white with a variety of fun neon inspired highlights!

Kent just loved the pockets in his
Neon trunks. For the right, a neat
Pocket square, in navy blue –
Fuck me – or light blue – wanna
Suck your cock; for the left, his
American Sexpress card, to pay the man.
He had a magenta hanky –
Armpit fetish – but never used it, ’cause
Guys confuse magenta and mauve, and
Navels don’t do a thing for him.

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Zippiedile tears

November 27, 2015

Today’s Zippy, with our Pinhead dissembling sadness:

(#1)

(With a little compendium of expressions conveying sadness or despair.)

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Dave Blazek

July 26, 2015

Another cartoonist new to this blog (like Ken Krimstein, recently posted on). The Loose Change cartoon by Blazek below (from 2010) came to me from the Grammarly Facebook page via a friend:

(#1)

Pin the Apostrophe on the Word.

There’s a rich vein of cartoons mocking English teachers for their purported inclination to focus on minutiae.

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“beat a urine”

July 17, 2015

At first glance this looks like word salad, and things aren’t helped much if I tell you that it’s a VP, that it’s attested, and that it wasn’t an inadvertent error. Context, we need context.

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Why are they pets?

May 25, 2015

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

(Note the title: “Linguistics 101”.)

For the people:

We call them pets because we pet them.

For the cats:

We call them feeds because they feed us.

The two cases of nouning aren’t parallel, but reversed — in a sense, chiastic.

May 26th. Note of etymological truth, which I playfully omitted in the original posting. This is a cute story for pet, but it’s etymologically backwards. The noun came first, for ‘indulged child’, then for ‘animal companion’, and then the verb was derived from the noun, meaning something on the order of ‘to treat like a pet’, specifically ‘to stroke’.

Specialists in International

April 7, 2015

Slogan on the side of a DHL truck in Palo Alto:

DHL — YOUR SPECIALISTS IN INTERNATIONAL SINCE 1969

The adjective international is serving as a noun here, conveying something like ‘international shipping’ or ‘international mail’ or ‘international delivery’. Informally, this is “nouning by truncation”, but the implicit noun head isn’t uniquely identifiable.

Two pieces of background here: on “nouning by truncation” and on the DHL company and its slogans.

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Too much whelm

February 12, 2015

From Alon Lischinsky, this Questionable Content cartoon:

A straightforward route to the noun whelm: from overhelm, the verb whelm by back-formation, then nouning of this verb, to give the abstract mass noun whelm.

But this analysis is a bit hazy,

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