They're as self-centered as we are!

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Nov 3 23:26:28 UTC 2009

At 9:58 PM +0000 11/3/09, Chris Waigl wrote:
>On 3 Nov 2009, at 20:28, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>>From a Britspeak letter to the editor of ZDNet:
>>... " 'borrow' (some would say _'knick'_)" ...
>A few thousand GHits for ["I|he|she|you|we knicked"]. Both in the
>sense of "cut slightly" ("I knicked my leg|scrotum while shaving") and
>"steal" ("We knicked a Tesco trolley to use as a barbeque").
I figure this spelling (esp. in the UK, and in particular for the
scrotum cite) may well be processed as a back-formation from
"knickers" (the standard locution for what we call 'underpants' and
'panties' on this side of the pond), although I have to concede that
the semantic shift requires some ingenuity.


The American Dialect Society -

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