"proliferate" as adjective"

Herb Stahlke hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 21 12:11:05 UTC 2009

In today's NYT Online is the sentence

As the notion of California as ungovernable grows stronger than ever,
Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has expressed support for a
convention to address such things as the state’s arcane budget
requirements and its process for proliferate ballot initiatives, both
of which necessitated Tuesday’s statewide vote on budget matters
approved months ago by state lawmakers.

If the writer, Jennifer Steinhauer, had written "to proliferate ballot
initiatives" instead of "for proliferate ballot initiatives," it
probably wouldn't have caught my ear, but I came back to the word and
tried to pronounce it with a schwa in the final syllable.  OED Online
does not list this adjectival form, and I haven't seen it before,
although there is certainly plenty of grounds for such an analogical


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

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