"posture" as a transitive verb

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 17 16:52:57 UTC 2011

Charles C Doyle wrote:
> In an interview in _Time_ magazine (24 Oct. 2011, p. 64), the actor/activist George Clooney discusses the failure of Demoncrats to claim sufficient credit for the Obama administration's successes:  "Democrats should talk to Hollywood about how to posture some of these things."
> That use of "posture" does not very closely match either of the senses of transitive "posture" recorded in the OED.  The first, "To place in position; to set," is labeled "obs.," with the most reecent example from 1735.  The only other transitive sense that the OED gives is "To place in a particular attitude or pose; to dispose the body or limbs of (a person) in a particular way.  Usu. in passive.  Also fig."
> Perhaps Clooney was being fig.?  Or was he employing a new "Hollywood" use of the verb?

I think "position" could be substituted for "posture" and the
Clooney's intended meaning would be preserved. Here are examples in
1995 and 2005 that are also using "posture" for "position" I think.

The nurse as executive (1995)
<Begin excerpt>
A marketing strategy involves many steps, including determining how to
posture the product, determining the target populations, deciding on
objectives for the marketing campaign, setting a strategy for
achieving the objectives, ...
<End excerpt>

Ultimate Guide to Buying Or Selling a Business (2004)
<Begin excerpt>
It will also explain how to posture the sale of a business that is in
serious financial difficulty or has no profit at all. …
One of the last items you should reflect on is the possibility of
using the Bankruptcy Act to posture the business for sale.
<End excerpt>

This use might fit under sense 2 figurative.

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

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