"comb-overed" (a cad, of course)

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Wed Aug 15 14:30:50 UTC 2012

On Aug 14, 2012, at 5:51 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> From a review by Catherine Rampell in the NYTimes today of the play
> "Getting the Business":
> "It helps that her new boss, Bert, is the type of comb-overed cad who
> likes to give unsolicited career advice while massaging your feet."
> 8,570 Ghits for "comb-overed", vs. some unknown number for a quoted
> "combed-over" since that also finds the simple past tense "combed
> over".  No instances in the OED of either past-participlean
> adjectival form, just the noun phrase (and without the verb "to
> comb-over" either).
> I would have constructed "combed-over cad", but what do I know?

you're assuming that we're dealing with the PSP (past participle) form of the V + Prt verb "comb over / comb-over", in which case the inflection would appear on the head, the V "comb" ("combed-over cad").  so you're seeing "comb-overed cad" as having the externalzation of inflection on V + Prt.  such externalization does occur, and i've posted about a number of cases (like "loginned") -- but maybe something simpler is going on with "comb-overed".

namely that it's a derived Adj in "-ed" from the N "comb-over", parallel to "windowed" 'having windows, with windows' in "a windowed room" and huge numbers of other examples -- so an Adj meaning 'having a comb-over, with a comb-over'.


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