"Cadillac" cites

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Nov 6 07:21:16 UTC 2009

And here's my Word Routes followup, focusing on "Cadillac" usage in baseball:


On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 2:19 AM, Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> In this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, I have an "On Language"
> column on the transferred usage of "Cadillac":
> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/08/magazine/08FOB-onlanguage-t.html
> Here's the full info for some of the citations of interest.
> * "the Cadillac of X"
> 1925 _Washington Post_ 18 Dec. 4/4 He [sc. Col. Sherman Moreland]
> insisted that it was "ridiculous" to call the DH and JN types of
> planes very dangerous. The former, which Col. Mitchell has described
> as "flaming coffins," he enthusiastically described as the "Cadillacs
> of the skies," which are safe to all competent fliers.
> 1932 _Sales Management_ Jan. 30 152/3 So you see it [sc. the Baldwin
> grand piano] is the Cadillac of our line, just as our other models can
> be compared to the Buick, Oldsmobile and the Chevrolet models of
> General Motors.
> http://www.arcade-museum.com/presto/PRESTO-1932-2265/PRESTO-1932-2265-07.pdf
> * "Cadillac" (adj.) referring to high-cost health insurance policies:
> May 4, 1964, "Deceptive or Misleading Methods in Health Insurance
> Sales," Senate Subcommittee on Frauds and Misrepresentations Affecting
> Elderly, Committee on Aging, Special.
> Testimony of Loren A. Hicks, President, North Broward Senior Citizens
> Club, Inc., and Treasurer, Florida State Council for Senior Citizens,
> of Pompano Beach, Fla.:
> "It costs $500 to $600 for a retired aged couple to get comprehensive
> policies that will pay possibly 80 percent of their benefits which has
> been described as Cadillac policies by someone previously." (p. 134)
> "I have a friend in Fort Lauderale. I think he is worth a quarter of a
> million dollars. He has three of those Cadillac policies. Every time
> he goes to the hospital he makes money. That is what is driving
> insurance rates up." (p. 138)
> http://web.lexis-nexis.com/congcomp/getdoc?HEARING-ID=HRG-1964-AGS-0004
> http://books.google.com/books?id=i2wFAAAAIAAJ&q=cadillac
> April 29, 1969, "Health Insurance," Senate Subcommittee on Health
> Benefits and Life Insurance, Committee on Post Office and Civil
> Service.
> Testimony of John F. Griner, President, American Federation of
> Government Employees: "I would like to point out at this point that
> our plans are competitive with the Blue Cross plan, the Aetna plan,
> the Government-wide plan. We do not have what we call the Cadillac
> plans, such as some of the postal organizations have. They are not
> only competitive at this time in benefits, they are also competitive
> in rates." (p. 51)
> http://web.lexis-nexis.com/congcomp/getdoc?HEARING-ID=HRG-1969-POS-0007
> http://books.google.com/books?id=RFnWAAAAMAAJ&q=cadillac
> May 17, 1974, "Competition in the Health Services Market, Part 2,"
> Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly, Committee on Judiciary.
> Testimony of Dr. Philip Caper, staff member, Subcommittee on Health,
> Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare: "Finally, it seems to me
> that there is an ethical consideration here. It is a question which
> has been debated extensively and is still being debated. That is
> whether as a society the provision of 'Cadillac health care' for one
> person and 'Volkswagen health care' for another person is acceptable.
> I'm not talking about amenities, whether somebody has French wine put
> on his hospital menu, but whether discrimination based upon ability to
> pay is an appropriate marketplace force in the health care industry."
> (p. 1061)
> http://web.lexis-nexis.com/congcomp/getdoc?HEARING-ID=HRG-1974-SJS-0006
> http://books.google.com/books?id=iosTAAAAIAAJ&q=volkswagen
> The last one, along with many other useful cites, can be found on
> Barry Popik's website:
> http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/cadillac_health_plan/
> --Ben Zimmer

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

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