Breakup season

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Jan 22 00:49:23 UTC 2012

On Jan 21, 2012, at 7:42 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:

> What is this called in other cities? Surely there's a word for it…

Well, in Madison it was called variously "dog turd season", "dog turd thaw season", or (misleadingly) "frozen dog turd season", but as should be clear, that's named for a different effect of the turd…er, turn of season.

> On Jan 21, 2012, at 3:28 PM, Dave Wilton wrote:
>> I too recall being in Anchorage during break-up.
>> DARE has an entry for "break-up" that's distinct from the "change in
>> weather" sense. It's Alaskan, of course, and defined as "the late spring
>> melting of ice and snow" with citations back to 1868.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
>> Benjamin Barrett
>> Sent: Saturday, January 21, 2012 6:05 PM
>> Subject: Breakup season
>> As a kid near Anchorage, I recall the breakup season when the snow turned to
>> dirty, muddy slush and all the litter that had accumulated over the winter
>> appeared. It is an ugly time of year. One elementary school I attended held
>> drawings for kids picking up garbage. You got one entry for each bag of
>> garbage you brought in. Breakup season is an important event in any cold
>> climate.
>> The OED is close with "change from fine or settled weather, or from frost,"
>> but I think this meaning deserves its own place as "breakup season" is not
>> understood to be on the same level as "breakup of the sunny weather" but a
>> particular spring phenomenon/period of time.
>> The AHD is also close with "The cracking and shifting of ice in rivers or
>> harbors during the spring." That is also an important series of events/time
>> period. I recall a bar that held a pool to see when a certain lake would
>> breakup. Whoever had the closest time won the money.
>> The MW meaning is close to AHD with "the breaking, melting, and loosening of
>> ice in the spring."
>> Googling on the Anchorage Times site, I see just one instance of "breakup
>> season":
>> -----
>> Tip: Keep our waterways clean this breakup season -- scoop the poop!
>> (
>> -----
>> Benjamin Barrett
>> Seattle, WA
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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