"wear out stay"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Mar 31 04:01:48 UTC 2006

On 3/30/06, William Salmon <william.salmon at yale.edu> wrote:
> An AP headline today reads: "Katrina Evacuees Wear Out Stay in Houston"
> "Wear out welcome" yes, but I've never heard of wearing out stays.  Does
> anyone know where this "stay" variety hails from?

Sounds like a blend of "wear out one's welcome" and "overstay/outstay
one's welcome". (It also sounds like abbreviated headlinese, even
though online headlines usually aren't subject to the same space
limitations as their print equivalents.)

Google favors "welcome" over "stay" by a ratio of better than 1500 to 1:

"wear|wears|wearing|wore out my|our|your|his|her|their stay": 134 Ghits
"wear|wears|wearing|wore out my|our|your|his|her|their welcome": 208,000 Ghits

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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