gentile = ethnonymic (was: Heard on The Judges: crack)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Apr 12 18:14:29 UTC 2008

At 2:04 PM -0400 4/12/08, Mark Mandel wrote:
>On Sat, Apr 12, 2008 at 9:56 AM, I wrote:
>>   OED says [-ish 1]:
>>    1. In OE. and the cognate langs., chiefly forming gentile adjs. from
>>   national names: e.g. British, English, Scottish

Right--that's why we say "Israeli" and not "Israelish".  Too gentile.


>I understood this use of "gentile", but I don't think I've ever seen
>it before. "Is it current?" I asked OED, and OED replied:
>    b. Gram. Of a word: Indicating the country, locality, or nation to
>which anything belongs.
>1818 TODD, Gentile, belonging to a nation; as British, Irish, German,
>&c., are gentile adjectives. 1854 R. G. LATHAM Native Races Russian
>Emp. 223 Lainen is the regular Finlandish termination for gentile
>Jesse, how about fixing this one? This sense doesn't appear anywhere
>else in OED online AFAICT.
>(Now to efile.)
>Mark Mandel
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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