Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Mon Feb 14 20:33:40 UTC 2005

For a while, back in '71, "get it up to/for" had a brief run. I think
that it began to die around the time that a female colleague was heard
to comment that she "couldn't get it up to go across the street," where
a class was being held while the campus was shut down by an anti-war
protest. A suggestion by this same woman, after the inappropriateness
of the use of this bit of guy-talk by a woman had been explained to
her, that women, therefore, should say, "get it wet to/for" probably
applied the coup de grace.

The somewhat similar phrase, "get/be up to/for" has a familiar ring,
but it's been around so long that I can't get it up to claim that that
phrase has the same origin as "get it up."


On Feb 14, 2005, at 1:22 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Melioration
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> At 12:50 PM -0500 2/14/05, Dennis R. Preston wrote:
>> arnold,
>> Why must you place images like "getting Kim off last night with
>> Sichuan cuisine" in our heads? How am I supposed to get any work done?
>> dInIs
> Yes, it does give a whole new meaning to the concept of a hot date...
>>> 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.
>>> arnold
>> --
>> 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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