the meaning of ''developed from'' (and a googling paradox)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Apr 25 20:37:03 UTC 2005

>"Spork" is certainly my favorite.

Yeah, I wouldn't have thought they've been around long enough to get
rusty enough for this particular application...


P.S.  A curious datum:  I googled "go fuck yourself with a" (bringing
in non-metallic implements, e.g. pieces of bread), and got 1400 hits.
Then I figured I'd try it without the "a" (figuring, inter alia, that
I should try to be initial-segment neutral in specifying the
implement), but there were just 616 hits for "go fuck yourself with".
It's not clear to me why *restricting* the search by *adding* the
indefinite article should result in more than doubling the number of
hits turned up.  Can anyone help explain this paradox?

>>At 1:51 PM -0400 4/25/05, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>>>In a message dated 4/25/05 12:02:40 PM, wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM writes:
>>>>  The existence or nonexistence of "go frig " is irrelevant here.
>>>>As for the
>>>>  masturbatory sense of "frig," I recommend a look at HDAS.
>>>I did, and it confirmed my intuition that FUCK is much more widely
>>>known than
>>>FRIG in any sense, whether masturbatory, trifling, or as a euphemism for
>>>FUCK. It does not seem "logical" at all that a well-known and
>>>widespread insult as
>>>(GO) FUCK YOU(RSELF) would have "developed from" one that is, at best,
>>>little-known, narrowlly distirbuted historically and culturally, and
>>>in itself best
>>>known as a euphemism for the very form it has supposedly evolved into.
>>As already note, I am in complete agreement with this position,
>>whether or not a calque of "Va (te) faire foutre" was involved.  But
>>now that I (re)think of it, it's not entirely clear that fucking
>>oneself really is an anatomically impossibility, assuming external
>>objects may be invoked for the purpose.  The suggestion then amounts
>>to something along the lines of "Go fuck yourself with the aid of an
>>unpleasant if not downright painful object of your worst enemy's
>>To support this analysis, I note that there are 99 google hits for
>>"fuck yourself with a rusty", with various head nouns suggested for
>>the operation.  The first ten hits range over "chainsaw", "knife",
>>"spoon", "hacksaw", "boat anchor", "iron pole", "axe", "nail", and
>Dennis R. Preston
>University Distinguished Professor of Linguistics
>Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages
>A-740 Wells Hall
>Michigan State University
>East Lansing, MI 48824
>Phone: (517) 432-3099
>Fax: (517) 432-2736
>preston at

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