dinging (solicit a quick quotable statement)

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 23 01:01:41 UTC 2010

> Goodman, who spent a decade at The Washington Post before his three
> years at the Times, says he will still rely on facts and not engage in
> "ranting." And while he was happy at the newspaper, he says, he found
> he was engaged in "almost a process of laundering my own views,
> through the tried-and-true technique of dinging someone at some think
> tank to say what you want to tell the reader."

There is an interesting oddly related OED parallel for this, though:

> ding v.1
> *4. b.* Without extension. (In quots. neuter passive, as in 'a loaf
> that cuts badly'.)
> *1786* BURNS /A Dream/ iv, But Facts are cheels that winna ding, An'
> downa be disputed. /Mod. Sc. Prov/. Facts are stubborn things; they'll
> neither ding nor drive [i.e. they can neither be moved by force as
> inert masses, nor driven like cattle].

A tangentially related question: when did "ding" reverse its meaning?

> 1. intr. (or absol.) To deal heavy blows; to knock, hammer, thump
> 2. trans. To beat, knock, strike with heavy blows; to thrash, flog.
> b. To crush with a blow, smash. Obs.
> c. To thrust through, pierce (with a violent thrust). Sc. Obs.
> 3. fig. To 'beat', overcome, surpass, excel.

Now compare that to the more recent expression "ding[ed] the car door".
"Dings" in a car outer shell are minor dents that are annoying but do
not represent serious structural damage (although they may detract from
the value of the car). More generally, a "ding" is essentially a minor
indentation or pit in the surface, and "to ding" is to make such an
impression in a surface. It appears to be precisely the opposite of
"striking a heavy blow".


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list