[Ads-l] Fictional Materials for OED (UNCLASSIFIED)

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Fri Jan 9 16:27:25 UTC 2015


Right, my impression of kryptonite is not that it's hard, but rather that it has some kind of poisonous effect on people from the planet Krypton.  But in its figurative application it may have been misinterpreted in the popular mind.

Fred Shapiro


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From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Mullins, Bill CIV (US) [william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL]
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2015 10:18 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: Fictional Materials for OED (UNCLASSIFIED)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE



>
> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
> Caveats: NONE
>
> Fictional Materials for OED
> Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
> Mon Jan 4 22:31:05 UTC 2010
>
>
> > "Kryptonite" probably deserves a dictionary entry because it has
> > metaphorical uses beyond the Superman genre...
>
> Here are two such uses, documented from the mid-'70s:
>
> ---
>
> * Kryptonite, adj. 'very hard or indestructible, as if made of
> Kryptonite'
>
> 1975 _Chicago Tribune 28 Dec. F14/2 "Well it doesn't bother me a bit,"
> says the man with the Kryptonite ego.
>
> 1977 _College English_ 38 (7) 641 Further, we determine that the
> kryptonite-hard desk surface is there to prevent students from
> scribbling.
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.jstor.org_stable_376066&d=AwIFAg&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=sRkhHMQo6W5Ird1lkQFqb23bCfSHAR2XjUSUG53db5M&m=c9n07CTZYAv3M1QXx04REu-kOmCip_vohjq_fwpQXlk&s=mVB8rxVLP7JMIDqp2VanU0ErRyFQkfOcCqw5PasBE6A&e=
>
> 1981 _L.A. Times_ 12 June E22/2  [Pete Rose is] 436 away from Cobb,
> whom he could pass in 1984, providing his Kryptonite body doesn't
> suddenly incinerate.
>
> ---
>
> --Ben Zimmer
>

It's been a while since I read many Superman comics, but I don't recall Kryptonite as being "hard or indestructible" -- at least any more so than any other radioactive rock.

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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