Invincible season

Damien Hall halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat May 22 18:50:24 UTC 2004

Not an *American* usage (that I know of, anyway), but I would be interested to
hear anything that people on this list have to say about this:


'Patrick Vieira made it an invincible season with a 66th minute winner.'

from a BBC Sports article about Arsenal FC, the English Premiership (football)
champions, not losing a match all season.


If it's the season that is being described as 'invincible', not the football
club, which is certainly the way this sentence reads on first reading, this
seems like a 'middle' use of the adjective to me.  I seem to remember
occasionally coming across 'middle' uses of adjectives like this, where active
meanings are substituted for usual passive ones, but I haven't got any more
examples to hand.

With *invincible*, at least, this usage is otherwise unattested in the first
hundred of each of a Google and a Google Groups search, and neither *OED* nor
*MW* lists anything other than a passive meaning.

The more I look at this example, the less I am sure what I think is wrong with
it, but I do think there's something.  What do other people think?

Damien Hall
University of Pennsylvania

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