"Horrible" as a noun?
george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Wed Jan 26 23:32:12 UTC 2011
A NYC newspaper of 1836 used "terrible" as a count noun in a column heading.
Accidents, freshets, crimes, casualties and other horrors. [headline; brief snippets of out-of-town news]
NY Times, April 29, 1836, p. 2, col. 2;
Condensed account of horrors. [the same] NY Times, May 23, 1836, p. 2, col. 3;
List of Terribles. [bad news from out-of-town] NY Times, June 11, 1836, p. 2, col. 4
(This is not the present-day NYTimes, or ancestral to it.)
These are the only items I noted, but I think it was the papers regular way of heading the bad news from out-of-town, so "horribles" might well have been used, too.
George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
Date: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 9:10 pm
Subject: Re: "Horrible" as a noun?
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> "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
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> 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<is called
> *a horrible*.
> Read more: Horrible vs Horrific - Difference and Comparison |
> I found the following in Wikipedia:
> *horrible* (*plural* *horribles<
> 1. A thing that causes horror <; a
> terrifying < thing, particularly
> a prospective bad consequence asserted as likely to result from an
> [quotations ▲]
> - *1851*, Herman Melville, *Moby Dick* *Here's a carcase. I know
> 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.*
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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