do, v.i.

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 17 14:00:39 UTC 2011

At the memorial service for Richard Holbrooke last week, Pres. Clinton
observed that "I loved the guy because he could do — doing in diplomacy
saves lives."  He added, "He could do and do."

This reminds me of the Witch in Macbeth who says, "I'll do and I'll do and
I'll do."  But many things remind me of the Witches n Macbeth.

The point is that that this usage, which Clinton may or may not have picked
up from the Witches, is something I can't recall ever hearing it in natural,
contemporary speech.  The OED entry on "do" is so daunting that I haven't
checked adequately for its latest ex..The sense is sonething like "to carry
out one's intentions with effect; take effective action"

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list