Heard on The Doctors: "lease _of_ life"; "anorectic" v. "anorexic"

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Fri Sep 21 22:36:57 UTC 2012

On Sep 21, 2012, at 3:08 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Heard on The Doctors: "lease _of_ life"; "anorectic" v.
>              "anorexic"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The former was spoken by a forty-ish black man in the UCLA Med Ctr
> Noticed this for the time today. But, 10,300,000 hits. A movie
> entitled "Lease _of_ Life" was released in 1954, the year that I
> graduated from high school. Who knew? I didn't.
> Back in '01, a poster noted:
> " 'A new lease _on_ life' seems to make perfect sense, suggesting that
> life is once again yours to occupy, like a property. Why, then. is it
> always quoted as, 'a new lease _of_ life'?"

not in the ecdb, but in the eggcorn forum in 2005, a poster reported the variant and suggested:

  A new lease OF life is presumably a second go (as in reincarnation), whereas a new lease ON life implies you are already in residence, and have just been assured of an extension.
  Yes? No? Maybe?

discussion of the variants here:

with Google ngrams indicating that "of" came first and is the predominant variant.  plus the comment:

  I won't clutter up this answer with two more charts, but if you click on the link above, and toggle the corpus between American and British, you'll see that almost all "new lease on life"usages are American.


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