No Spin zone

Tue Jul 7 15:03:40 UTC 2009

        I thought I would take a radical approach on this.  I looked it
up in a dictionary.

        OED has the transitive verb "shirt," meaning "To clothe with or
as with a shirt," from 1601.  New to me, and no citations since 1881,
but not marked obsolete.  I was more familiar with the noun "shirting,"
and I thought it had been around for a while.  I was right.  It means
"Material for shirts; spec. a kind of piece-goods of stout cotton cloth
suitable for shirts but also used for other garments," is from 1604.
I'm not sure which meaning is intended by the TV credit, but my guess
would be the former, implying that they don't just provide the shirts
but also do fittings, etc.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Laurence Horn
Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 10:40 AM
Subject: Re: No Spin zone

At 6:22 AM -0400 7/7/09, Bill Palmer wrote:
>I'm not a regular O'Reilly watcher, so maybe this has been going on a
>long time...among the closing credits of this morning's broadcast
>(re-broadcast, maybe) was "Custom Shirtings by....")  Apparently "To
>shirt" is a transitive verb. Who knew?
Why transitive?  Why verb, for that matter?  I think I've come across
this -ing elsewhere, forming fancy nouns from plain ones.  I wouldn't
assume from this that any of the staffers had shirted the host or
guests.  Or perhaps this is a spinoff of the Franglais tradition, where
"un parking" is a parking lot (or the act of parking) but there's no
verb "parker" 'to park', or at least there didn't use(d) to
be--"parquer" might exist now alongside the usual "stationner".  I seem
to recall other such innovative -ing nominals in Franglais but I can't
recall any at the moment.

LH, noting that "shirted" earns one of my Eudora underlines while
"shirting" does not...

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