[Ads-l] No soap and fair to middling

Michael Quinion michael.quinion at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Sat Sep 17 04:26:38 EDT 2016

My thanks to Peter Morris, Garson O’Toole and Jonathan Lighter for their 
comments and antedated citations for the expression /Joe Soap/. I have 
re-researched and substantially updated my piece of 2007 
(http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-joe2.htm), with appropriate 
acknowledgement to them.

A comment by Ben Zimmer earlier this week - to whom thanks also go - led 
me to look again at my discussion of /fair to middling/ 
(http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-fai4.htm), which I wrote in the 
dark ages of 2001. This, too, has been updated and recast, with better 
treatment of the lower-case /fair to midland/ version and improved 
earlier examples.

Various discussions on ADS-L have provided me with evidence for a dozen 
other pieces that need revision. With limited time these days, it's 
taking me a while to work through them. With nearly 3000 pieces on the 
site, there's surely plenty of room for improvement elsewhere but I 
shudder inwardly at the thought of the labour involved!


Michael Quinion, World Wide Words

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

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