Archive for the ‘Libfixes’ Category

Briefly: early libfixology

November 20, 2016

Back to the 1940s. Ben Zimmer writes to report that going through back issues of American Speech, he came across a couple of articles discussing what we would now call “libfixes”; Harold Wentworth called them “neo-pseudo-suffixes”:

Harold Wentworth, “The Neo-Pseudo-Suffix ‘-eroo'”, American Speech, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Feb., 1942), pp. 10-15 (link)

Dwight L. Bolinger, “Among the New Words”, American Speech, Vol. 18, No. 4 (Dec., 1943), pp. 301-305 (link):

Long lists have been compiled of words formed out of what Harold Wentworth calls neo-pseudo-suffixes. ANW has commented on a number of these, including –cast, -burger, -legger, -aroo, and others. How deeply the habit of dissecting words in American English may be seen perhaps better, however, in those suffixes of which there are but a few scattered examples and which have yet to become popular. Herewith are listed a number of them, which also meet the condition of not being independent words used in some nonce-combination (such as busting or fest).

Only two items on the list have survived: from icicle, Popsicle; from photogenic, telegenic.

think of the Xs

April 19, 2016

Start with my 3/31 posting “A kitten-killing God?”, where I looked at a slogan (and caption for an image), with the crucial part bold-faced:

Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten. Please think of the kittens.

A formulaic pattern Please think of the Xs (with minor variants: Think of the Xs!, Won’t someone (please) think of the Xs?, Won’t anyone think of the Xs? What about the Xs?) — some sort of snowclone, call it Think Of The Xs, exhorting the addressee to stop some activity, on the grounds that it does some damage to the Xs or sets a bad example for the Xs. Nancy’s comment on this posting of mine:

Not wank-related, but “Catmageddon,” the new anti-smoking ad campaign from Truth, makes the following equation: “SMOKING = NO CATS = NO CAT VIDEOS.” Think of the cats!

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Zip-O-Rama

April 9, 2016

Today’s Zippy takes us to Billy’s Burg-O-Rama in Oxford MA.

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The strip is “about” politics (insofar as a Zippy is “about” anything), but this posting is about the libfix -((o/a)r)ama ‘display, spectacle, something really major’. And about food, starting with burgers (and clams and fish & chips).

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Annals of naming (and lexical semantics and libfixes)

March 22, 2016

Today’s Zippy wanders across a surreal landscape, with at least two items of linguistic interest: the name of the character Premium Cruiseline (with its modifying noun premium) and the form poodle-napping (with the libfix -nap):

These ingredients, in order:

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Ignorance

March 14, 2016

A comment from Victor Steinbok on my “Flagging Marcomentum” posting of yesterday, in which I noted a recent use of Marcomentum by Republican primary candidate Marco Rubio:

It’s a bit late to the party. X-mentum has been floating around for at least 6 years, much of it sarcastic (mitt-mentum four years ago).

To which I replied:

Well, I never said it was new; I said it was new to me. But then I’m very much not a fan of inside discussions of political campaigns.

That is, the -mentum libfix (which has not been reported in this blog) comes from a world I don’t know a lot about, but it turned up in more general reporting, so it was notable to me.

I was ignorant of the libfix. The question is whether I should have known about it; if so, then I should at least have apologized for my ignorance, and possibly I should now go back and delete the posting as of no significance to anyone but me.

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-valanche

June 20, 2015

And the libfixes pour in. From Joel Berson on ADS-L yesterday, a report of ashvalanche ‘avalanche of ash’ (for two types of ash, with avalanche understood metaphorically). And that leads to plenty more examples of X-valanche.

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-(a)ganza

May 26, 2015

Five years ago I took note of the Teapartyganza segments on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show in 2010 (there’s a set of videos of the shows here). At the time, I took the name to be a one-off playful portmanteau (Tea Party + extravaganza), so I didn’t post about it; if I tried to take note of every portmanteau that comes past me, I’d go nuts.

Then in 2014, Eleganza came past me in a Zippy: Eleganza Fashions, a business that still seems to be going, So then there were two.

This morning, I stumbled upon my Teapartyganza note and thought to check on –ganza nouns. Oh my, it’s clearly gone the familiar route from portmanteau element to libfix (conveying, roughly, ‘an event of considerable size, scope, or complexity’): a Libfix-A-Ganza, to use one of the spellings that’s become customary in these situations.

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A panderthon

May 22, 2015

The cover of the June 2015 Funny Times, by Matt Wuerker:

What caught my eye was panderthon, (roughly) ‘an interminable occasion of pandering’, with the libfix -(a)thon. The word is especially associated with political pandering, as here.

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From disaster to great spectacle

May 3, 2015

The news for yesterday, from Inside Edition:

Saturday is scheduled to be the biggest day ever in sports history with “The Fight of the Century,” [Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao] Kentucky Derby, the NBA and NHL playoffs, and the final day of the NFL Draft.

The New York Post is calling it “Sportsmaggedon.”

— using the libfix –maggedon, usually naming disasters, but here referring approvingly to a great spectacle. The disaster libfix –pocalypse has sometimes gone the same route: in my “The news for libfixes” of 1/14/13, there’s a rave for “Airpocalypse: America’s premier Air Band!”

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In both cases, a semantic component of great size or significance is preserved, but the affective polarity of the word is reversed: bad becomes good.

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Annals of (possible) libfixes: -abelia

April 17, 2015

In the April 20th New Yorker, a fascinating story of a lost, and eventually found, Tlingit totem pole, in the Our Far-Flung Correspondents category: “The Tallest Trophy: A movie star made off with an Alaskan totem pole. Would it ever return home?” by Paige Williams.

In the midst of this, a portmanteau, Barrymoreabelia, combining Barrymore [John Barrymore, the actor in question] and memorabilia: ‘Barrymore memorabilia’. I suspect that the element -abelia has been “liberated” as an affix of its own — a libfix — but this is very hard to test, given the existence of a plant, the flowering shrub abelia (which I’d been meaning to post about, but this isn’t the occasion).

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