Banned Words

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jan 6 02:25:36 UTC 2000

At 5:38 AM -0600 1/6/01, Joseph McCollum wrote:

'01 already?  Seems like it turned '00 only last week...

>>True Freshmen -- "As opposed to a false or three-year freshman, or
>>what?" - Barry Campbell, Luther, Mich. "In my 76 years, I have yet to
>>see a false freshman." - Thaddeus Poprawa, Fraser, Mich.
>As opposed to a red-shirt freshman.  A true freshman is one who is on
>campus for the very first year; a red-shirt freshman was on campus last
>year but was injured
>(perhaps in some very minor fashion), did not play for the college, but
>still has four
>years of eligibility.

Yes, in fact I've been using "true freshman" (along with "fourth-year
senior", as opposed to those fifth-year seniors the redshirts may
eventually turn into, if they haven't bolted by then) in my inventory of
retronyms for years.  Don't let them take it away!  Next, they'll be
casting their beady prescriptivist eyes on "biological mother" and "unsafe
sex".  In fact, here's an excerpt from a discussion we had on this, back in
the good old 20th century...

Date:         Thu, 12 Jan 1995 21:22:15 EST
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at UGA.BITNET>
From:         Larry Horn <LHORN at YALEVM.CIS.YALE.EDU>
Subject:      Re: Brick reality and language i

Actually when I cover retronyms in my Words and Meaning class, I always do
include a discussion of doubles as well (e.g. a "wood wood" in golf, "cheese
cheese" as opposed to mock, etc.).  The term retronym (for such early
examples as "analog watch" and "acoustic guitar", although one of my
favorites has always been "biological mother", not to mention "true
freshman", for you
football fans out there) was one that I first came across in Bill Safire's
columns, and he credits Frank Mankiewicz.

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