query--("next to nobody")

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at UMR.EDU
Sun Sep 17 21:37:48 UTC 2006

I see I didn't express myself clearly. What I meant was that "next to nothing" may have arisen first, maybe 10, 20 (I really have no idea) years prior to "next to nobody."  Once "next to nothing" arose, "next to nobody" was formed by analogy to it. This is of course speculation.
Gerald Cohen


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Beverly Flanigan
Sent: Sun 9/17/2006 3:32 PM
Subject: Re: query--("next to nobody")

No, it was actually the first line of a newspaper article in the local
rag--something like "Next to nobody would deny that . . ." (I don't have
the nsp at hand).  The more I think about it, the more familiar it becomes;
I may have heard it, and used it, myself in the distant past.  But it's
been a long time ago, if so, which is why it struck me as strange.

At 03:37 PM 9/16/2006, you wrote:
>  Maybe "next to nobody" was preceded by "next to nothing" (= almost
> nothing), where "next to" would make sense. E.g. the figure "one
> triillionth" would be figuratively next to zero.  Then "next to nobody"
> could have arisen by analogy to "next to nothing."
>Gerald Cohen


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