OED appeals list

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jun 24 01:22:23 UTC 2002

At 6:17 PM -0400 6/20/02, Bethany K. Dumas wrote:
>On Thu, 20 Jun 2002, Jesse Sheidlower commented on the sense of
>I have been wondering about the range of the -able adjectives. The state
>of TN sells a wildlife license plate whose slogan I find particularly
>obnoxious: Watchable Wildlife.
>I suppose that anything visible is "watchable." I also suppose that by
>"watchable" the state means something like "worth watching" or "beautiful
>to look at" - doesn't seem to work, to me.

Mebbe so, but "watch-worthy wildlife", despite its catchy
alliteration, sounds more as though it's limited to those beasts that
one might consider gifting with a portable timepiece, which
eliminates too many of the intended referents.  (All but maybe apes
and monkeys, and of course kangaroos and wallabies, who could sport a
pocket watch.)  A number of -able adjectives *have* lexicalized into
fossilized meanings or uses--"lovable" (not just 'capable of being
loved') for one, and of course "comfortable".  TN is just trying to
move the process along here.


More information about the Ads-l mailing list