"send the wrong message"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 14 20:07:47 UTC 2011

Perhaps Willkie merely said the wrong to the wrong audience; i.e., put
his foot in his mouth.

The "message" or "signal" in recent usage is usually no more than a
suggestion, a hint, a strong implication, an invitation to draw a
false conclusion, the "wrong idea."


On Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 2:12 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "send the wrong message"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ...because it refers to "signals". If someone is confused about "mixed
> signals", it's no more about "signals" than a false-flag operation is
> about "flags"--in the latter case, at least not since the early 1800s.
>     VS-)
> On 10/14/2011 11:25 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>> At 10/14/2011 12:56 AM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>>> "Mixed signals" should be even more fun. The OED gives essentially the
>>> literal meaning, apparently oblivious to the fact that the latter two
>>> quotes are anything but literal:
>> Why do you think the following definition is only literal?
>> "mixed signals n. signals which (apparently) contradict each other
>> (cf. mixed message n.)."
>> Joel
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