Disappeared as transitive

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue Mar 19 16:07:08 UTC 2013

On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 11:32 AM, Amy West wrote:
> Coming into the conversation late: any parallels in use of "vanish"?
> And what about not Argentina, but stage magic as a source of this
> transitivity?

Well, the OED does have a 1949 cite from _American Speech_, covering both
"disappear" and "vanish": "The magician may speak of disappearing or vanishing
a card." Transitive "vanish" is much older, though: OED takes it back to 1450
and finds it to be "now chiefly with reference to conjuring," e.g.: "Then he
vanishes a birdcage and its occupant... Finally, he vanishes his wife." (1886).


Ben Zimmer

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

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