"Lite" (1921) (?)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jun 18 14:12:34 UTC 2001

At 5:28 PM -0400 6/18/01, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>When I looked for early examples of "lite" following Larry Horn's recent
>thread, I came upon this newspaper item from 1921 ("Gets Lite Sentence"):
>Apparently "light sentence" has been expressed as "lite sentence" in the
>title of this item.
>No doubt this is an early example of a "sarcastic" replacement of "light"
>with "lite", analogous to Larry's example of "lite music" from AHD4!
>[The replacement of "light" with "lite" probably is not on the basis of
>"spelling reform" à la "Chicago Tribune", since the word "tonight" (not
>"tonite") appears in the text.]
>What is it that is seriously wrong with my analysis?
Sorry, Doug.  Read the clipping again.  The reference is to a LIFE
sentence, not a LITE sentence.  The top of the "f" in "Life" was
clipped, but the context (in which the "Negro" was sentence to life
imprisonment for killing a white man in a street fight, the point
being that if it were the other way around the sentence would have
been much...lighter, if any at all) makes it clear that it's not
"Lite" at all, even if a search engine claims otherwise.


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