"don't hold me to that" = "don't blame me for that"

Mark Mandel Mark.A.Mandel at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 7 17:26:22 UTC 2009

On Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 5:31 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> At 4:33 PM -0400 8/6/09, Mark Mandel wrote:
> >Dr. Richard Kirby: (chuckle) That's called a "tramp stamp". I didn't
> >make that up, so don't hold me to that.
> >
> Actually, I read this as 'Don't hold me to that'.

Eh? ... I'm OK with the rest of your reply, but that looks like a "the
fingers are faster than the mind" slip.

> I guess it depends
> on what one is being held responsible for; in this case, it's for the
> meaning of "tramp stamp", which the dermatologist is saying he didn't
> invent. Â I'm not sure other instances of "Don't blame me" could be
> referred to in the same way. Â So although it's a more specific kind
> of responsbility involved, I don't see this as an actual meaning
> change for the expression in question. Â (He *could* have cited the
> candidacy of "tramp stamp" for one of the ADS WOTY categories a few
> years ago; can't recall if it was a winner.)

Mark Mandel

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

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