"a day that will live in infamy" (in a positive way)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jun 2 18:14:05 UTC 2012

On Jun 2, 2012, at 1:11 PM, Victor Steinbok wrote:

> It actually seems to be fairly routine use on ESPN--and they've used as
> both a positive and a negative. It almost seems to be an inside joke
> with a couple of their anchors. I would not quite elevate it to a cliche
> yet (especially given the reversal).
>    VS-)

It occurred to me later that we don't need to assume that there's been a reversal or a that there's a celebratory use involved, just perhaps a loss of the feature [+ bad].  So "infamy" can denote anything famous, not necessarily either good or bad, similarly to notoriousness or enormity.  Sort of the opposite of what happened with "mastermind".


> On 6/2/2012 12:13 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>> I know I've usually heard it as "a day that will live in infamy", and
>> I remember hearing FDR's actual recording (more than once) refer to
>> 12/7/1941 as "a date which will live in infamy", but before tonight,
>> I've never heard it used in celebration.
>> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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