Slashdot: "It doesn't need to be deepfreezed." [NT]

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Mon Sep 3 16:25:12 UTC 2012

On Sep 2, 2012, at 3:05 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> Kinda like "refrigeratored" / "frigidaired"

this is a case where context and a reference to the actual source are all-important.  the history of "deepfreeze" the verb is also important, and i can't tell from Wilson's extremely brief comment whether he knows anything about the history.

the history in brief:

1. the noun deep-freeze / deep freeze / deepfreeze was originally a trade name (like Frigidaire); from the OED:

(Written Deep-freeze.) The registered American trade-name of a type of refrigerator capable of rapid freezing. Hence, a refrigerator or process in which food can be quickly frozen and stored almost indefinitely at a very low temperature. Also attrib.
1941   Official Gaz. (U.S. Patent Office) 8 July 260/2   Deepfreeze. For Refrigerating Apparatus and Parts Thereof.

2. the noun was quickly (by 1951) genericized, and also extended:

‘Cold storage’; suspension of activity; suspended animation. Also attrib. [1949 on]

3. the noun was soon verbed:

trans. To subject to a deep-freeze process; to refrigerate; also transf. and fig.

now, you'd expect that since the noun was originally a proper name, it would be treated as a unit and would take regular inflection: Deepfreeze, Deepfreezed, Deepfreezed.  but the OED's first cite for the verb (1957) already treats it as a compount V with "freeze" as its head, so it inherits the inflectional morphology of "freeze" (deepfreeze, deepfroze, deepfrozen):

If the cook deep-froze the body, he knew about the murder.

4. (side note) "Frigidaire" has been genericized, and also (very rarely) verbed:

Across, I sat me down and felt my feet were frigidaired.
And blue-blushed hands reminded me my gloves were pocket-snared. [poem]

it's freezing but I refuse to admit it's still winter, thus my poor fingers are frigidaired into clumsiness;p=2

5. there are examples of the V "deepfreeze" 'put in a deep freeze' with regularized inflection:

Musculus quadriceps fexoris of C57BL/6 mice were deepfreezed by placing liquid nitrogen and transferred into -70℃ refrigerator until determination. [literal deepfreezing]

i don't know anything about the language background of the writer here, but most of the literal instances are probably from non-native speakers -- from French, Hungarian, German, Chinese, and Japanese sources.

there's also regularization for clearly metaphorical uses:

Action was moved indoors to the St. James Courts in St. Charles County. The indoor climate failed to warm up the Riverwomen, though, as they were deepfreezed by the visiting NEMO squad eight matches to one.,%201981-1983/1983/April%207,%201983.pdf

6. then there are regularized cites in a computer context, like this one:

This works great on staff machines, and public machines are deepfreezed so it is not a worry.

but this turns out not to be simple regularization, but inflection on a proper name (which would be expected to be regular), as in:

We can't install or download anything period, and they are DeepFreezed, so they go back to whatever state they want nightly.

the software in question:

Deep Freeze provides the ultimate workstation protection by creating a “frozen” snapshot of a workstation’s configuration and settings.
Each time you restart your machine, Deep Freeze restores your computer to this desired “frozen” state.

i can't tell whether Wilson's original example was of this sort or not; i couldn't find it on the net.

7. (another side matter) "refrigerator" has been verbed (as 'put in(to) a refrigerator'), and its PST/PSP forms are of course "refrigeratored". many examples, some close to "refrigerated", some further away:

Why does pork sausage need to be refrigeratored for 12 hours?

No. The first episode of Supernatural cannot end with Sam's girlfriend dying in the same manner as his mother, motivating him to join Dean.
I cannot allow that to be true.
I can maybe deal with one refrigeratored woman in an episode. But two?


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list