new datum on the grammar of doughnut

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 15 04:09:45 UTC 2001

Randy Moss, star Minnesota Vikings wide receiver, bemoaning his
team's shellacking in the championship game yesterday at the hands of
the surprisingly intrepid New York Football Giants (as we used to
call them):

"41 to doughnut, I think that's probably the worst defeat I've ever
been in in my life."

More prosaically, the final score was 41-0.  I've seen and heard
"doughnut" used like "goose egg" or occasionally "bagel" to denote
zero, with obvious iconic motivation, but always as a garden-variety
count noun:  "We thought we had a great offense and we ended up with
a (big) doughnut".  But this use as a mass noun (= "zip" or "squat")
is a new one on me.  (Moss is from West Virginia, if that's relevant.)


More information about the Ads-l mailing list