ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Mon Jan 24 00:56:47 UTC 2011

"learn shorthand" gets 1.25 million raw Google hits. Not what one would expect for an allegedly nearly extinct enterprise.

The fact that the OED treats the "transferred and figurative meaning" suggests to me that Victor is right that the nontechnical meaning is widespread--so much so, in fact, that it is scarcely a metaphor at all. I suspect that that has been the case for 50 years or more (remember the Dictaphone?). How long has the OED had that meaning? The answer to that question would tell us a lot.

Sent from my iPad

On Jan 23, 2011, at 1:56 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> 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.
>    VS-)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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