[Ads-l] back-formation: to eagle-hunt

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Jan 1 16:11:54 EST 2017

> On Jan 1, 2017, at 4:01 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> From the film, _The Eagle Huntress_ (highly recommended except for the
> theme song!):
> "Girls can't eagle hunt."
> Not "to hunt for eagles" but "to hunt wild game through the use of a
> trained eagle.”

Like the similarly instrumental back-formed compound “fly(-)fish”, as in

“Real men don’t fly-fish”

or “Ten things I wish I knew when learning to fly fish"

—not “to fish for flies”, which presumably real men also don’t do.

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

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