"Toenailed": of nails

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 22 20:27:56 UTC 2011

On Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 3:17 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Re: "Toenailed": of nails
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 3:08 PM -0500 1/22/11, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>from Storm Stories
>>Spoken by a fifty-ish, white female survivor of the Great Malibu
>>Canyon Mudslide:
>>"I saw that two nails had been _toenailed_ into the wood [of a 2x4.]"
>>Does anyone know what the verb _tailnail_ might mean, just off the top
>>of his head?
> No, but I know a nice example of regressive assimilation when i see one!
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

SIgh! How can a spellchecker that's alert to spellings like

"his father's house"

redlining all apostrophe-S strings,

miss _tailnail_?


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come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
–Mark Twain

Once that we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
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