Archive for the ‘Lexical semantics’ Category

tribute time

June 7, 2020

Annals of pandemic vocabulary: the N + N compound tribute time ‘a time (moment in a day) for tribute’, specialized for a specific form of tribute (largely, clapping) to a specific group of tributees (medical workers). The practice has been around for several months, but the label seems to have emerged more recently (I don’t have the resources to track these things down), and now it figures in today’s wry Doonesbury cartoon, about Zonker Harris and his nephew Zipper:

(#1)

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Death trap

June 5, 2020

The 5/27 Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo brings us two Grim Reapers confronting what might be a trap for them:


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

If you want to catch Death in a trap, what do you use as bait? Obviously, not the conventional chunk of cheese, but dead cheese: moldy cheese. (Moldy cheese is, of course, not actually dead; in fact, the cheese is alive with the swarms of microbes.)

The cartoon nicely exploits an ambiguity, between the semantics of the conventionalized compound death trap / deathtrap, and the semantics of a compound Death trap, parallel to mouse trap / mousetrap.

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Minnesota hotdish

May 7, 2020

Today, Alex [Alessandro Michelangelo] Jaker (posting from Toronto) on Facebook:

So unfortunately I can’t go home and visit my family in Minnesota 🚗🚗🚗🛣🏡 because of the virus, so I decided to just go ahead and make my own hotdish 🍄🥕🍅.

… Although actually, it’s sort of a hybrid between hotdish and lasagna 🍅🧀🇮🇹.


(#1) Jaker Hotdish (photo from the author)

… [about hotdish] Apparently it is what people from other places call a “casserole”. In the present case, I used ground mutton 🐑, onions, celery, carrots 🥕, a leek, tomatoes 🍅, mushrooms, a can of cream of mushroom soup 🥫, parmesan cheese 🧀, and noodles. And beans. First stir fry all the ingredients except the noodles, and boil the noodles separately, then combine into a baking dish and bake for ~40 minutes.

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The triune Emperor of the Swamp: a muskrat, a fox, and a bear

April 3, 2020

The swamp is Pogo’s Okefenokee, and its emperor has three faces: Deacon Mushrat (a muskrat and a moral monster); Seminole Sam (a grifter fox); and P.T. Bridgeport (a huckster bear). Powerful members of the emperor’s inner circle include Mole MacCarony (aka Molester Mole) and Simple J. Malarkey, a malevolent wildcat.


(#1) The Deacon, Malarkey, and Mole (plus Mole’s minions, the bats Bewitched, Bothered, and Bemildred) at a 5/6/53 meeting of the Jack Acid Society

I found myself pulled into this world by Lisa Cohen, who wrote on Facebook on 3/31 that she’d just heard someone on the radio referring to [REDACTED] as a rabid muskrat, which made her suddenly feel more cheerful. Indeed.

The reference to metaphorically fanatical muskrats immediately, of course, called to mind Deacon Mushrat [Muskrat], a hypocritical conservative who speaks in Gothic text (as above), in Walt Kelly’s Pogo comic strip. And from that everything else fell out.

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Higashi Day cartoon 5: hoods and newts

March 15, 2020

(Little kids, but I pursue them into the weeds of sexual anatomy, though without the photos or raunchy talk. Take appropriate cautions.)

The One Big Happy cartoon from 2/9:


(#1) Once again, about the kids finding a word (un)familiar in a particular sense: the apparel noun hood

And the OBH from 2/17:


(#2) And minute ‘extremely small, tiny’

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A diverse holiday

March 14, 2020

(Mostly an essay on American social practices and traditions, but with major helpings of manflesh and mansex, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

St. Patrick’s Day is the holiday. In the US, where its celebration is especially significant, it has taken on something of a carnival character, so of course there are gay porn sales for the holiday; gay men are ever bent on putting the carnal back in carnival, after all.

Meanwhile, at least in America, the saying is that on St. Patrick’s Day everybody is Irish. And in the US, we conspicuously — though very erratically — celebrate our diversity. So it’s not entirely a surprise that a brand of gay porn (the playfully and crudely named Peter Fever) devoted to the “highest quality Asian men, pants down” should undertake a big sale for St. Patrick’s Day. A sale including a bdsm porn flick set in the world of Japanese gangsters.

Now, that is diversity: go green, kinky queer yakuza!


(#1) Suit and Tied: Yakuza Control (“Submission, Obedience, Love, Deception”), with bdsm furniture in the background: dom Duncan Ku, subs Caged Jock (CJ), Tyler Slater

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Revisiting 43: the Socka Hitsch nominal on the rural Swiss roadside

February 15, 2020

In my “Socka Hitsch” posting yesterday, Christian Zwicky / Socka Hitsch described by the nominal

old eccentric rural Swiss roadside sock vendor ‘old, eccentric sock vendor on the roadside of rural Switzerland’, ‘seller of socks along the road in the countryside of Switzerland who is of advanced age and exhibits unconventional behavior’

An unusually long nominal — I was showing off some — but not one with unusual components, put together in unusual ways. In the middle of it, rural Swiss roadside, with the complex adjectival rural Swiss, modifying the compound noun roadside — a perfectly routine and unremarkable expression    (compare rural Dutch in the attested rural Dutch landscape, urban English in the attested urban English roadworks, etc.), but one of some interest to people who fret about how the form — the morphology and syntax — of expressions (like rural Swiss) links to their meaning — their semantics and pragmatics.

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Verbizing on the lam

February 4, 2020

From the American tv police detective series Nash Bridges, S3 E19 “Lady Killer” (from 4/10/98): detectives Bridges (played by Don Johnson) and Joe Dominguez (played by Cheech Marin) have learned that Insp. Rick Bettina, under arrest in this episode, has escaped from custody:

Bridges, on the phone: He fugitized!

Dominguez: He fugitized?!

Yes, the verb fugitize ‘flee as a fugitive, go fugitive’. And no, it’s not in the OED, not that you should have expected it would be; fresh verbizings — with meanings that are clear in context, as here — are coined almost daily. In fact, this one has been independently innovated several times in the past.

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Guy gear

February 1, 2020

(Sex toys and all they bring with them, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Today, a leek (for St. David’s Day, March 1st), but yesterday (the intercalary day February 29th) a leap.

The mail arrives and wow! (you exclaim) there’s a Leap Day flash sale at the Guy Gear Store, just for today! You have visions of well-designed equipment for hunting, fishing, and camping; cool bikes; hot athletic shoes;  t-shirts for teams, bands, and plain ol’ aggression; tools Craftsman never dreamed of; electronics to rule the world of the future; and all that good guy stuff.

And then you examine the ad in detail:


(#1) Quick! Identify the three sale items in the ad; the model’s shapely buttocks are not actually on offer

Probaby not your father’s idea of guy gear.

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An infestation

January 19, 2020

A quirky Joe Dator cartoon from the January 20th issue of the New Yorker:


(#1) “We’re not a seafood restaurant–this building has a pretty severe lobster infestation.”

NOAD‘s account of the everyday usage of infestation (with notes added by me in square brackets):

noun infestation: the presence of an unusually large number of insects or animals [not plants or microbes] in a place, typically so as to cause damage or disease [of concern to human beings]: infestation with head lice is widespread | efforts were made to deal with an infestation of rats in the building.

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