Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon Feb 14 17:45:44 UTC 2005

On Feb 14, 2005, at 6:24 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> An earlier example that springs to mind is to "get off," which in
> mainstream usage changed from "experience orgasm" to "enjoy oneself
> (often perversely)."  This happened around 1970.

melioration for the intransitive verb "get off (on)" ("I really get off
  on Sichuan cuisine"), but the transitive verb "get off" ("I got Kim
off last night") is still resolutely sexual: "I got Kim off last night
with Sichuan cuisine" can't mean 'I caused Kim enjoyment last night
with Sichuan cuisine'.

as is so often the case, historically related senses of words don't
always undergo semantic shift in parallel.


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