in a poistion; holy crapsticks

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Mon Dec 17 20:31:32 UTC 2007

Regarding "temperature," I was thinking of the use of the word in typical household situations, in which a too-low body temperature is almost never an issue--therefore never discussed. A "bad"-temperature is always high, a fever. Medical professionals, in contrast, probably say "running a fever" and not "running a temperature"?

For English speakers, it seems, 'smell' words tend to become pejorated, as if (for the civilized) the ideal smell is none at all; we prefer deodorant to perfume! It's happened to "reek," "smell," "odor," and "scent"--and I suspect it's in the process of happening (or will happen) to "fragrance" and "aroma."


---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2007 15:07:38 -0500
>From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>At 11:19 AM -0500 12/17/07, Charles Doyle wrote: My favorite oldies of the "bad"-deletion sort are "temperature" (as in "He running a temperature")

>Can the specific use of "temperature" really denote one that's too low?  For me, it only picks out the fever range, not just any bad temperature.  Of course the use of a general term to communicate a taboo specific extends broadly; there are, for example, "drink" (for +alcoholic), as noun or verb, and intransitive "smell" (not to mention "smelly").  But then there's "fragrance", which seems to involve "good" deletion.

>>and "temper" (as in "She's really got a temper")--both of which oxymoronically imply the very opposite of TEMPERATENESS.

The American Dialect Society -

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