Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 23 18:56:09 UTC 2011

Is shorthand now simply a synonym for "euphemism" or "substitute"?
> Frances Fox Piven, a City University of New York professor, has been a
> primary character in Mr. Beck's warnings about a progressive take-down
> of America. Ms. Piven, Mr. Beck says, is responsible for a plan to
> "intentionally collapse our economic system."
> Her name has become a kind of *shorthand* for "enemy" on Mr. Beck's
> Fox News Channel program, which is watched by more than 2 million
> people, and on one of his Web sites, The Blaze.

It certainly falls under OED b. entry ("transf. and fig."), but it's
taken on a life of its own. With actual shorthand becoming a
nearly-extinct art form, the figurative usage is dominant and it's not
always clear that the speakers actually know why they use the shorthand
metaphor other than the fact that they've heard it used before in some
vaguely similar context.


The American Dialect Society -

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