'Rock' meaning 'wear' or 'sport'

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Sep 9 13:49:39 UTC 2008

On Sep 9, 2008, at 5:05 AM, Charles Doyle wrote:

> Neal, I'm more interested in your expression "once is weird, twice
> is queer," which you surrounded with quotation marks. Does that
> expression function proverbially in a folkgroup to which you
> belong?  It receives zero Google hits. (Is "queer" necessarily
> weirder than "weird"?)

Geoff Pullum, 11/27/04:  Once is cool, twice is queer

which begins:

In an almost forgotten 1970 Sidney J. Furie movie about a pair of
itinerant motorcycle racers, Little Fauss and Big Halsy, a character
named Halsy Knox (Robert Redford) picks up not just one small-town
girl but two, and spends a hot night with them both. In the morning
his sidekick Little Fauss (Michael J. Pollard) is surprised to find
him creeping away before the girls wake up, and preparing to leave
town and move on. Fauss wonders why Halsy wouldn't want to stick
around for more of the same. But Halsy's reply is negative: "Uh, uh!
Once is cool; twice is queer."


What the Once-is-Cool-Twice-is-Queer (OICTIQ) principle is saying is
that in the realm of human behavior a single event can be dismissed as
sporadic, but you have to take it seriously when you find a pattern
repeated twice or more, especially within a short space of time. I
want to suggest that this is in fact a rather useful rule of thumb for
linguists and philologists.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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