Michael Quinion editor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Fri Jan 18 18:07:54 UTC 2002

A World Wide Words subscriber has asked in some puzzlement about
"thisclose", written as one word.

I started off by thinking this was an obvious typo, but a quick
newspaper archive search turned up more than a hundred examples in US
periodicals, some of which had the word in quotes, suggesting that
the writer was marking a known colloquialism.  The ADS archives show
that Barry Popik noted it about a year ago as a Wall Street usage.

Does anyone have any information about its provenance, parentage, and
probable distribution? If it is spoken, how is it distinguished from
the two words said separately? (I have a mental image of the speaker
holding up a hand with the first and second fingers pressed together,
but is it augmented by some vocal emphasis?)

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: <editor at>
Web: <>

More information about the Ads-l mailing list