"write," n. = "something intended to be read; a writing."

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Sep 22 20:09:15 UTC 2006

Don't give in, Charlie.  A "read" can be anything that is the source of a reading experience.

  One can say, "He writes books" but not *"He writes reads."  Yet.

  A "good read" is a good reading experience. A "compelling read" is a compelling one. "A tedious read" is a tedious one.

  The chosen adjective makes all the difference.  I remember "read" blossoming in the early '60s. Reviewers used it fairly indiscriminately.   (Or "indiscriminantly" : 70,000 raw Googlits.)

  Re "write," let's not forget John Lennon's _In His Own Write_ (1964).

  In the 2005 ex., "write" n. is essentially synonymous with "read" n.


Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Charles Doyle
Subject: Re: "write," n. = "something intended to be read; a writing."

You're probably right, Jesse. Perhaps it was the repetition of the whole cliche "a compelling read" that grated.


---- Original message ----
>Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 15:33:54 -0400
>From: Jesse Sheidlower
>Subject: Re: "write," n. = "something intended to be read; a writing."
>On Fri, Sep 22, 2006 at 03:27:10PM -0400, Charles Doyle wrote:
>> That would correspond to the noun "read" (OED, n.2), which
>> has always struck me as pretentious. At a social gathering
>> a few years ago, I heard an ostentatiously well-read
>> individual refer to each of three differents recent novels
>> as "a compelling read."
>I have the exact opposite reaction--I find _read_ n. to
>be colloquial, and if an ostentatious egghead referred to
>a novel as a "good read", I'd assume that the book is
>quite unpretentious and that the egghead is attempting to
>be relaxed in his or her reading choices.
>Jesse Sheidlower

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