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

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Fri Sep 21 22:56:21 UTC 2012

On Sep 21, 2012, at 3:36 PM, Arnold Zwicky wrote on "new lease of/on life":

> discussion of the variants here:
>  http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/55632/new-lease-of-life-vs-new-lease-on-life
> with Google ngrams indicating that "of" came first and is the predominant variant...

lease n., sense 3, in OED2, but not yet fully updated; entry first published 1902

fig. with reference to the permanence of occupation guaranteed by a lease; esp. in phr. a (new) lease of life . Also, the term during which possession or occupation is guaranteed.

c1595   Countess of Pembroke Psalme lxxxi. 44 in Coll. Wks. (1998) II. 118   Of my graunt they had enioy'd A lease of blisse with endlesse date.
1609   Shakespeare Sonnets cxlvi. sig. I3,   Why so large cost hauing so short a lease, Dost thou vpon thy fading mansion spend?
a1616   Shakespeare Macbeth (1623) iv. i. 115   Our high plac'd Macbeth Shall liue the Lease of Nature.


*no* mention of the "on" variant.

(for the record, i'm an "on" speaker and like Wilson, found the "of" variant surprising.  maybe we count as the American wave of the future.)


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list