Quick meaning alive (was: Heard on NFL Blackhawks vs. Redwings)
db.list at PMPKN.NET
Thu Dec 31 07:36:03 UTC 2009
From: Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
> On Dec 29, 2009, at 7:17 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>> At 12/29/2009 12:19 AM, Seán Fitzpatrick wrote:
>>> FWIW, in 1966 at Ft. Bragg, our bayonet instructor informed us
>>> that there are only two kinds of bayonet fighters: the quick and
>>> the dead.
>> Clear proof that modern usage is not limited to the literary
> The question here is actually how many people get the "alive"
> meaning. The intended meaning is adequately powerful without it.
> I was born in the year that usage occurred, and, had I not been
> primed by this thread, I doubt I would have gotten the "live" meaning
> in, say, a movie. Probably not in casual conversation, either. If an
> OE prof had used it, probably so, though still maybe not if I hadn't
> have my coffee yet.
For what it's worth, i was born later (1970), and it took a few readings
before i could figure out why this was all noteworthy, and that there
might be a pun there--when i hear "the quick and the dead", "quick"
simply *must* mean "alive" to me, and it took an immense effort to see
the possibility of anything else.
I can't imagine getting that meaning for "quick" in any other phrase,
though--but such is the power of idiom.
("Quicken" to mean "make alive", on the other hand, i've been caught
using that one a couple times.)
David Bowie http://www.pmpkn.net/lx/
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