nauseous = nauseated (1885)

Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Tue Jan 11 16:47:38 UTC 2005

I came in on this discussion in progress when I rejoined the list after an
absence, so I apologize if this aspect has already been covered, but it
seems to me that "nauseous" is isolated by its pronunciation in addition to
its other peculiarities.  I don't recall ever hearing it pronounced other
than "nawshus," whereas I don't recall hearing the other words in question
pronounced other than "naw-ze-ating" and "naw-ze-ated."  A kid I went to
high school with, who was British, was famous for saying "naw-she-ated,"
but I'm sure the "nawshus" pronouncers I've heard--even very recently--were
not all British.

Peter Mc.

--On Monday, January 10, 2005 5:02 PM -0500 Benjamin Zimmer
<bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU> wrote:

> In other words, "nauseous" has become a "skunked word" -- a word that has
> undergone a recent semantic shift and is therefore a source of confusion
> amongst those unsure of which sense is the accepted one.  Bryan A. Garner
> introduced the idea of "skunked words" in his _Modern American Usage_ (I
> believe "nauseous" is a prime example on his list).  Garner notes that
> some anxious speakers simply avoid skunked words if the new, prevailing
> usage is disparaged by prescriptivists as incorrect and the earlier usage
> is no longer generally understood by anyone other than the
> prescriptivists.  In the case of "nauseous", the word can be avoided
> entirely because the speaker has recourse to the unambiguous choices of
> "nauseated" and "nauseating".

Peter A. McGraw       Linfield College        McMinnville, Oregon
******************* pmcgraw at ************************

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