I don't take lightly to X

Neal Whitman nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Sun Aug 16 18:55:21 UTC 2009

Seen in last Tuesday's _Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch_:

"I don't take lightly to threats," Jones said.
("S-W district not giving up on levy," Charlie Boss, Columbus Dispatch, Aug.
11, 2009, A5)

My diagnosis: an idiom blend involving "(not) take X lightly" and "(not)
take kindly to X".

CoCA has 94 hits for "take kindly to". (Not directly relevant, but
interesting: One positive polarity example, "Sam and Linda Christine of
Aiken, South Carolina, are on a back-door basis with everyone and take
kindly to absolute strangers happening by, especially during daylily

Only 1 CoCA hit for "take lightly to": "Conversely, comparing the two
situations also shows that a large and powerful nation, with vast resources
and unrivaled economic might, does not take lightly to losing in third-party
dispute settlement."

The ratio is a lot closer to the extent that you can trust raw Google hits:
28M for "take kindly to" vs. 10.5M for "take lightly to".

Apparently, some speakers have both "take kindly to" and "take lightly to":

"I do not take lightly to your threats. I do not take kindly to your attempt
to sway my actions against your Cult. "

For related discussion, see this message from Arnold Zwicky in response to
an example submitted by Wilson Gray:

Neal Whitman
Email: nwhitman at ameritech.net
Blog: http://literalminded.wordpress.com

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

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