"(one's) to lose"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Oct 3 00:07:59 UTC 2011

At 10/2/2011 03:48 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>But whatever the literal meaning of the seemingly straightforward phrase "X
>is Y's to lose," that elementary string of words, which individually are in
>the vocabulary of every three-year-old, seems not to exist in print in the
>English language before 1916. That means that effectively it had no
>existence. That situation apparently persisted for about another 80 years.

Jon, this paragraph led me to wonder -- is there any data on what
percentage of words written (in print, I mean, including pixels) in
every decade is accessible to full text search?  Could that be a
factor in not finding instances of use for several decades after
first appearance?


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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