Getter Better

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Fri Apr 25 16:30:11 UTC 2008

On Apr 25, 2008, at 8:09 AM, Doug Harris wrote:

> ... Google found 21,300 "getter better" references, many duplicates,
> going back
> at least four years. 'Sounds like something I'd expect Larry the
> Cable Guy
> to utter, but not a locution I'd expect from many utter -- er, other
> --
> people.
> Am I simply out of touch?

amazing stuff.  also "getter tougher", "getter harder", "getter
easier", "getter longer", "getter shorter", and who knows what else.
the "getter" represents either standard "getting" ("time is getter
shorter everyday") or "get" ("are you saying that I won't getter
shorter bulkier muscle"). oh my, also "getter more": "are animals
getter more and more inteligent [sic]?"

there are far too many examples for most of them to be (inadvertent)
anticipations of a comparative ("-er" or "more"), though that's a
reasonable hypothesis about the origin of the construction (possibly
in "getter better", with its rhyming "getter" and "better" -- note a
modest number of hits for "getter better all the time").

oh lord, also hits for "becomer better".

i really don't recall having seen any of this stuff before.


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