Fwd: preggers

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Tue Aug 11 13:41:41 UTC 2009

meant for the entire list...

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu>
> Date: August 11, 2009 6:40:48 AM PDT
> To: djh514 at york.ac.uk
> Subject: Re: preggers
> On Aug 11, 2009, at 3:55 AM, Damien Hall wrote:
>> May I please pick your brains? This is a question about a British
>> English
>> example, but there may be relevant parallels in American English too.
>> 'Preggers' is one UK slang word for 'pregnant' (not particularly
>> common,
>> but heard nevertheless). A colleague and I are wondering whether or
>> not it
>> is morphologically-complex...
> the OED (draft revision March 2007) thinks that it is: preg- from
> pregnant, plus a suffix -ers (with preggers cites from 1942 on).
> but though there's a link to something billed as the suffix -ers,
> what it actually links to is an entry for the probably obsolete noun
> ers (the Bitter Vetch, Ervum Ervilia) -- something that obviously
> needs to be fixed.
> the OED has entries for the "slightly earlier" preggy and the later
> preg and preggo.
> possible (distant) parallels, also from British slang: bonkers
> (origin unknown) and crackers (which the OED derives from a noun
> cracker, though in what sense i can't work out -- but it compares
> crackers to the adjective cracked, which seems like a likely
> connection to me), both meaning 'crazy'.  i suspect there are
> others, but these are the ones that occurred to me off the top of my
> head.
> too bad there isn't an actual OED entry for suffixal -ers.  i say
> "suffixal" because -ers here, like the -y of preggy and the -o of
> preggo (and the -y of Peggy, the -s of Babs, short for Barbara, the -
> o of Jacko, for Michael Jackson, etc.), isn't really a meaningful
> suffix, but serves merely as a hypocoristic extension of some (often
> abbreviated) base.
> arnold

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