ILL, the verb

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Jan 27 13:04:12 UTC 2013

It's funny how one person's old chestnut is another person's exotic innovation.  "ILL" as a verb is an extremely common usage in the library world, and not a new one.

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Jonathan Lighter [wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2013 7:34 AM
Subject: Re: ILL, the verb

> totally expected that such would be the case.

But I expect the unexpected.

The number of "obvious" innovations that seemingly take decades to evolve
or catch on is, well, unexpected.

On Sun, Jan 27, 2013 at 2:05 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: ILL, the verb
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sat, Jan 26, 2013 at 11:52 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>
> wrote:
> > and in fact it expands to mean the opposite of what it stands for, I'm
> guessing:  ILL = "Inter-Library Loan", but here meaning "Borrow via an ILL
> request"
> As a vetean of some twenty sucking years in the field of ILL, I can
> tell you - but not document, of course - that _ILL_ - pronounced "I
> yell ell" - as a verb with the meaning cited above, has probably
> existed since two days after the introduction of ILL, some time after
> the destruction of the Library of Alexandria or thereabouts. It's,
> like, totally expected that such would be the case.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
> to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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