Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 19 19:08:06 UTC 2012

Rick Perry is finally quitting his presidential campaign today. The news
has prompted comments such as this one (actually, these comments have
been popping up for the past two months, and not just about Perry).

> He had a downright mythical flameout. I seriously look forward to the
> books from former campaign staff.

"Mythical" seems to be the wrong word here. But I've seen this usage before.

The closest OED comes to it is #4.

> 4. That has acquired an idealized or exaggerated reputation on the
> basis of popular rumour. Cf. mythic adj. 2.

Except that it's really not the same--it's more of an opposite. It was
the stuff of legends. Which is why we sometimes call it "legendary". Or
is "legendary" reserved for positive accomplishments? Is there a better
substitute here?


The American Dialect Society -

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