"Luck out"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Oct 15 17:37:11 UTC 2011

…and nominated here (on Monday) as a QOTY candidate.


On Oct 15, 2011, at 6:49 AM, Charles C Doyle wrote:

> Not to be confused with the recent, punful "Suck for Luck," an expression that might be opaque to those other than to football fans.
> --Charlie
> ________________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Douglas G. Wilson [douglas at NB.NET]
> Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2011 4:48 AM
> Here is something which seems a little interesting (to me anyway),
> brought up recently on Language Log (I don't know how much overlap there
> is between ADS-L and Language Log followers).
> "Luck out" [v. intrans.] has two opposing senses: (1) 'positive',
> meaning "encounter good luck" or so; (2) 'negative', meaning "encounter
> bad luck" or so. Both are in HDAS. I think the record indicates overall
> predominance of the 'positive' sense, but apparently the 'negative'
> sense has some currency, especially (but maybe not only) outside the US.
> http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3484
> http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3486
> Apparently the 'positive' sense is attested at least as early as 1911
> (US), the 'negative' at least as early as 1954 (US).
> Apparently the 'negative' sense was employed recently by Lee Child
> (present-day novelist, US resident), and earlier by Pohl and Williamson
> (1970's SF).
> -- Doug Wilson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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