"Word" words?

Dan Goodman dsgood at IPHOUSE.COM
Fri Apr 25 16:42:34 UTC 2008

Guy Letourneau wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Guy Letourneau <guy1656 at OPUSNET.COM>
> Subject:      "Word" words?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Richard Lederer wrote of "word words," which are nouns spoken twice to
> indicate that what is meant is the thing in its most ordinary instance.
> For example "tea-tea" might be spoken to contrast from ice tea, or
> exceptionally exotic preparations.
> Some may remember an air freshener ad which named the product an "air
> conditioner" in which an exasperated housewife explains "it's not an air
> conditioner - air conditioner, it's an air CONDITIONER."
> Anyways, my wife was wondering about writers who append an English
> equivalent after a borrowed word. She said she had read of a woman who
> 'wore a kimono robe and an obi belt.' 'Robe' and 'belt' seemed redundant
> to her.
> Any comments? Is there a katana sword, an ushanka hat, or borscht soup?

Not quite the same thing, but there's our old friend Torpenhow Hill.

Dan Goodman
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