still more on -er

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Mon Nov 23 02:39:48 UTC 2009

In a message dated 11/22/09 8:14:11 PM, laurence.horn at YALE.EDU writes:

> "Christer" is interesting, since of course it does correspond to the
> generalization, as do "Quaker", "Shaker", and "Holy Roller, all of
> which at least originated as pejoratives.

CHRIST is a noun, the others are verbs. NEW DEAL and (arguably) AARP and
ACLU are ideological positions.

But these three counterexamples aside, if Larry's rule is just that -er is
pejorative when applied to nouns that characterize political or religous
convictions, then--again--(1) they are grammatically anomalous and hence more
likely to be interpretable as ironic/sarcastic and (2) people are perjnaps
more likely to make up odd names for things they don't approve of than things
they do.

And is it really true that Hell's Angels are not a social movement and that
being a true Biker (whether pedalled or motored) is not a religion for the

The American Dialect Society -

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