"It's _away_ better than fast food! It's Wendy's!" [NT}

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 22 18:48:55 UTC 2009

I see your point, Ben. Please accept my apologies for giving you
attitude. It didn't occur to me that anyone would try to hear the
commercial for himself, believe it or not! My head was in a completely
different space, totally self-centered space. It seems to me that
expressions like "way better" and "most everybody" were once "away
better" and "almost everybody." There are plenty of examples still to
be heard of people of all races, creeds, colors, sexual orientations,
and previous conditions of servitude who say "almost everything."

But "away better" is far more problematic. Was it real or was it
Memorex? So, when I heard "away better," it grabbed my attention. I
must have heard "away better" a thousand times without ever listening
to  the commercial in which it was couched. I'm usually only
*listening" to the tube and not watching it. It was a while before I
was able to train myself to give enough attention to the commercial to
get the whole sentence, for the benefit of other, perhaps-interested
readers. At that point, *I* was satisfied, so I posted the sentence,
intending the posting as only an FYI without comment, not intending it
as *evidence* or anything.

It's like "break nasty" or "smoke NP over" or "bring smoke on NP,' "
and such. I've heard and used these expressions, but I've never seen
them in print and don't expect to. For lexicological purposes, they're
useless. But they may be of casual interest as random examples of BE
slang and jargon. In some cases, I've posted stuff that I've heard
*only* among GI's, like "take the meat," "eat the green weenie," or
"The Great Random-Fuck Machine in The Sky" (= "RFM")  that determines
the fate of every EM.

OTOH, I'm fairly certain that the military expression, "take gas,"
occurs in the song, Sidewalk Surfin', by Jan & Dean. Once I've
persuaded *myself* that such is the case, I'll post the relevant verse
and other info. Of course, if the expression *is* in the song, then it
may already be in HDAS. (I haven't yet bought the relevant volume.)
Jon doesn't fuck around, being fine as wine and *really* on the ball,
when it comes to finding "useful* examples of slang and jargon. (This
is not to say that I have less respect for others here who also kick
ass at this.) E.g., HDAS has "horsecock," though he calls it "naval'
and not "military.," (a claim that I can accept, FWIW). I have never
come across any other civilian who has heard of this bit of jargon.

There was also "take ass," but, IMO, it's only a hypercorrection, like
"gun-ho" and "Strike" (< STRAC).


On Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 9:56 PM, Benjamin
Zimmer<bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "It's _away_ better than fast food! It's Wendy's!" [NT}
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 9:34 PM, Wilson Gray<hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Jesus Christ, Ben! (Remember the place in None Call It Sleep wherein
>> the Jewish kid marvels that the Christers have a god whose name is a
>> curse word?) There's no conclusion to be drawn from the example of a
>> *different* commercial! Especially one that's as long and as boring as
>> that one. But it was nice to see that someone had decided to give a
>> brotha a break. ;-)
> Sorry, Wilson! So, which commercial was it? All you gave us was the
> subject line with no other info. I gave up looking for one with "away"
> after suffering through the long boring one...
> --Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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