"select for"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 25 16:36:31 UTC 2011

Hmmm. No "select against" either.

Maybe they're crypto-Creationists at Oxford.


On Fri, Nov 25, 2011 at 10:54 AM, Jim Parish <jparish at siue.edu> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jim Parish <jparish at SIUE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "select for"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> Dig it: OED has no def. for this universally used Darwinian phrase.
>> I've always found it to be rather opaque: why are biological
>> characteristics selected "for" instead of "selected" or "selected for
>> preservation"?  Whenever I read it, I feel I'm missing something
>> crucial and subtle.
> I assume that "select for" is used to allow for the reverse, "select
> against". (A hypothetical "select against preservation" seems ungainly,
> somehow.)
> Jim Parish
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