"Horrible" as a noun?

Wed Jan 26 02:09:15 UTC 2011

        "Parade of horribles," a listing of the negative effects to be expected from a legal or policy position that one opposes, is a standard term among lawyers.  Ben Zimmer's Language Log posting mentions its use in 2002, but it was frequently used by my law professors in the early 1980s, and the example below from 1982 is clearly the same thing.  Note that you can never have just one horrible of this type, although you can have one horrible after another.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Jocelyn Limpert
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 7:39 PM
Subject: "Horrible" as a noun?

I've been informed that "horrible" is being used as a noun in a soon-to-be
published book, a possible best seller.

Does anyone know who coined this usage and if it is now in fairly common
usage?  Had anyone heard it much?

I found the following at diffen.com

*horrible as a Noun* The use of "horrible" as a noun is fairly rare. A
person wearing a funny or gross costume in a parade of
horribles<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parade_of_horribles>is called
*a horrible*.

Read more: Horrible vs Horrific - Difference and Comparison |

I found the following in Wikipedia:

*horrible* (*plural* *horribles<http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/horribles#English>

   1. A thing that causes horror <http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/horror>; a
   terrifying <http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/terrifying> thing, particularly
   a prospective bad consequence asserted as likely to result from an act.
    [quotations ▲]
      - *1851*, Herman Melville, *Moby Dick* *Here's a carcase. I know not
      all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it
laughing. Such
      a waggish leering as lurks in all your horribles!*
      - *1982*, United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, *The
      Genocide Convention: Hearing Before the Committee on Foreign Relations,
      United States Senate* *A lot of the possible horribles conjured up by
      the people objecting to this convention ignore the plain language of this
      - *1991*, Alastair Scott, *Tracks Across Alaska: A Dog Sled Journey* *The
      pot had previously simmered skate wings, cods' heads, whales,
pigs' hearts
      and a long litany of other horribles.*
      - *2000*, John Dean, CNN
      January 21, 2000: *I'm trying to convince him that the criminal
      behavior that's going on at the White House has to end. And I
give him one
      horrible after the next. I just keep raising them. He sort of swats
      them away.*
      - *2001*, Neil K. Komesar, *Law's Limits: The Rule of Law and the
      Supply and Demand of Rights* *Many scholars have demonstrated these
      horribles and contemplated significant limitations on class actions.*

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