McCainian "oversight"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat Sep 27 03:23:13 UTC 2008

In the first presidential debate, McCain used "oversight" as a
transitive verb, meaning "to provide oversight for" -- he referred to
Obama's chairmanship of "a committee that oversights NATO." (OED3 only
has a rare intransitive sense of the verb, "to make a mistake through
negligence or omission." )

McCain has used "oversight" in the same way a few times earlier in
this campaign season:

CNN, Apr. 1, 2008
I was chairman of the Commerce Committee that oversights all sectors,
practically, of our economy.
CNN, July 17, 2008
He has been the chairman of the committee of the subcommittee that
oversights NATO operations. Afghanistan, we obviously know, about NATO
Washington Post, Sep. 16, 2008
I was chairman of the Commerce Committee that oversights every part of
our economy.
AP, Sep. 17, 2008
That's the committee that oversights our economy — transportation,
science, telecommunications, airlines — all of the factors that drive
our economy.

And he used it back in the 2000 primary debates:

New York Times, Jan. 7, 2000
I think that's appropriate in my role as chairman of the committee
that oversights that bureaucracy, which by the way, is extremely
difficult for most people to deal with.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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