'Rock' meaning 'wear' or 'sport'

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Tue Sep 9 15:24:46 UTC 2008

Thanks, Arnold. Is "once is weird, twice is queer," then, just an ad hoc (half-rhyming) variant of "once is cool, twice is queer" (which registers 39 Google hits, many of them referring to either the Language Log entry or the movie)?  That is, "weird" in the sense of 'noteworthy but not necessarily important'?

In any case, it's an interesting principle. It reminds me, though, of what my old professor Archibald Hill used to say: "It takes three trees to make a row," meaning (au contraire) that merely two instances canNOT be regarded as constituting a pattern.


---- Original message ----
>Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2008 06:49:39 -0700
>From: "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>Subject: Re: 'Rock' meaning 'wear' or 'sport'
>On Sep 9, 2008, at 5:05 AM, Charles Doyle wrote:
>> Neal, I'm more interested in your expression "once is weird, twiceis 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
>  http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001672.html
>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

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

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