-est x3

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Mon Jun 14 15:12:42 UTC 2010

from Michael Brick,
Lizard as Big as Texas Finds
A New Rooftop Home There
NYT, 6/14/10

... By force of sheer monstrosity, Iggy soon became the mascot of the tequila-swillingest, cosmic-country-blaringest, 10-gallon-hat-wearingest joint in all of New York.

[Iggy is a 40-foot, 2600-pound polyurethane-and-steel iguana figure that once graced the roof of Lone Star Cafe in Manhattan and has now been relocated at the Forth Worth Zoo in Texas.]


my question is about the triplicate superlative formula in the cite, which i'm sure is of some age.  anyone have similar examples of reasonable venerableness?

in the example above, all three modifiers are inflectional superlatives of synthetic compounds using a PRP verb form ("tequila-swilling", "cosmic-country-blaring", "10-gallon-hat-wearing").

(1)  such synthetic compounds are themselves a stylistic feature, as in the mocking subtitle of Geoff Nunberg's 2006 book:
  Talking right: How conservatives turned liberalism into a tax-raising, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show

(2) so are inflectional superlatives of PRP modifiers.  we discussed "winningest" and similar examples here back in 2007, noting that many people find such inflectional forms marginal at best as standard English.  (they certainly have a playful or ostentatious character.)

(3) so is the use of parallel expressions in triplicate.  (this feature has been crystallized into the X3 snowclone -- "location, location, location" (with a conventionalized set-up) -- but it has wider uses as well.

the cite above has all three of these features, which can occur independently, in one package.  i'm looking for other three-in-one examples, especially ones from some years ago.


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list