(Almost-)new word sighting

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Oct 20 18:56:39 UTC 2002

Well, not exactly BRAND-SPANKING new...

'Other smoke-ban municipalities have allowed bars to reorganize as
private smoking clubs--"smoke-easies," they have been called.'

Bill Keller, "The Smoke Nazis", NTY 10/19/02, A17

Of course the base is not "drink-easies", but "speak-easies", but
this is the standard pattern (cf. hamburgers>cheeseburgers,
veggie-burgers,...).  And yes, other variants are mentioned in the
column, but clearly as nonce-terms:

'Commissioner Frieden is scornful of such exemptions.  "We don't
allow asbestos-easies," he says.  "We don't allow
formaldehyde-easies, or radiation-easies." '

So either "-easies" or at least "smoke-easies" as a WOTY candidate?
Google has 24 hits on "smoke-easies" (plural), and I found 31 on
Nexis, mostly from the last couple of years but one going back to
12/31/97, a NYT article about Los Angeles, in which the plural is
curiously given as "smoke-easy's". (I didn't check "Among the New
Words".)  The earliest hits are mostly from California, for obvious


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