bootleg recessionistas

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Oct 27 02:32:18 UTC 2008

At 9:56 PM -0400 10/26/08, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>On Sun, Oct 26, 2008 at 9:43 PM, Alice Faber <faber at> wrote:
>>  Laurence Horn wrote:
>>>  OK, "bootleg" isn't new, and I even have some Bootleg Dylan on my
>>>  iTunes, but is anyone familiar with it in this apparently bleached or
>>>  shifted sense as used by Matt Stairs below?
>>>  "It's disappointing and some guys were extremely mad about it,"
>>>  Stairs said early Friday evening after the team's workout at Citizens
>>>  Bank Park. "I think it's bootleg when you have the World Series and
>>>  guys are jogging out to the line and they don't take the extra five
>>>  minutes to introduce the players."
>>  Could it be a Canadianism?
>>  Alternatively, a malapropism (for bush-league)?
>Fits this Double-Tongued definition pretty well ("inferior,
>unappealing, worthless" -- cites from 2001):
>--Ben Zimmer
Hmmm.  Actually, that use of "bootleg", which I suppose is a
generalization of the item in my lexicon in the sense that it no
longer has a causal connection to the source of the bootleggery
(ripping off the rightful owner, copyright possessor, etc.) and
retains only the connotation of poor quality associated with such
items, works pretty well for that website I noted, and the poem it
contains.  But the cite from Stairs would then involve a further
transfer, since "bootleg" applies here not to an item of inferior
quality (of whatever origin) but to a decision of which he disparages
as unfair.  I guess "bogus" may have undergone a similar shift
('counterfeit, fake' > 'no good')


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