[Ads-l] Nominations for 2014 Word of the Year

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Fri Jan 9 15:36:58 UTC 2015


On Fri, Jan 09, 2015 at 07:32:00AM -0800, Ben Zimmer wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 9, 2015 at 7:25 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> >
> > A couple of thoughts --
> >
> > even (v.) -- from "to even out"?  If so, the definition doesn't
> > include the sense of "to level" (make even).
> 
> As the accompanying gloss explains, it is derived from "I can't even"
> -- this sense has nothing to do with the older verb sense. For further
> explanation, see this piece (which also discusses the similar use of
> "can" as a verb):
> 
> http://the-toast.net/2013/11/20/yes-you-can-even/

Fascinatingly, it wasn't until I saw the ADS list that I realized "even"
was meant to be interpreted as a verb here. I had always thought that
this expression was elliptical for something like "I can't even believe
you said that" or the like.

Jesse Sheidlower

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