Heard on MSNBC

Kari Castor castor.kari at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 9 01:34:42 UTC 2009

I don't know about the relative newness, but it's quite a common usage among
the people I know.
the hiv (for this type of usage, HIV is typically pronounced phonetically,
not spelled out) - as in, "Don't touch Paris Hilton; you'll get the hiv."
the stupid - as in, "That guy has a bad case of the stupid."
the ugly - as in, "Lucky that kid didn't catch the ugly from his parents."

On Fri, May 8, 2009 at 8:12 PM, Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at gmail.com> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Heard on MSNBC
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Rachel Maddow frequently uses the phrase "the gay" derisively of
> people, usually conservative Republicans, who think homosexuality is
> an acquired behavior.  This evening Keith Olberman used "the funny" in
> a similar way when talking about whether Obama would be humorous at
> the Correspondents' Dinner.  Is this use of "the" + adjective a new
> pattern?  Obviously "the" + adjective is a common construction that's
> been around a long time as in "The difficult is done at once; the
> impossible takes a little longer."  It's this derisive or ironic use
> of the construction that feels new.
> Herb
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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