Paul Frank paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU
Mon Nov 1 08:32:15 UTC 2010

On Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 9:22 AM, Jesse Sheidlower <jester at> wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 01, 2010 at 08:49:33AM +0100, Paul Frank wrote:
>> Here's a word for your scholarly dissection: meta.
>> Perhaps the most meta moment of the week. In the episode, Charlie
>> drinks beer on the couch and jokes about his "$2500 date experiences,"
>> while preparing to go out with the well-preserved dermatologist who
>> "scraped a pre-cancerous mole off my ass."
>> Â  Â  TV Guide, Oct 29, 2010
>> The event proved a mass demonstration of noncommittal cleverness,
>> quirk and irony. Through signage, some rally-goers competed to be the
>> most topical ("One man's socialism is another man's uninformed
>> buzzword"), the most off-topical ("I love pineapples") and the most
>> meta ("I am holding a sign").
>> Â  Washington Post, October 31.
>> "Meta moment" gets 23,000 googlits.
> This is in OED; the first adjectival example is from 1988, the
> first noun from 1993.
> Jesse Sheidlower

Thanks Jesse. You're talking me into forking out the money for a
subscription to the online edition, because half the time I don't find
what's hidden somewhere in the paper edition of the OED (and I do know
the alphabet). I guess that ".. oh look! A puppy!" is also in the OED
as a convenient phrase (or meme, if you will) to indicate a short
attention span. My favorite sign from this weekend's rally was carried
by a New Yorker: "Americans for ... oh look! A puppy!" - which speaks
volumes about the attention span of today's electorate and the media
that feeds it news and pseudo-news.


Paul Frank
Chinese, German, French, Italian > English
Espace de l'Europe 16
Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland
paulfrank at
paulfrank at

The American Dialect Society -

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