[Ads-l] [Non-DoD Source] Re: "Gaslight" as a verb only five decades old

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jan 13 13:30:57 EST 2017


> On Jan 13, 2017, at 12:40 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> Presumably a fair (though statistically insignificant) number of film-goers
> independently  thought sooner or later to verbalize "gaslight."  And if the
> written evidence has any bearing on actual usage, the verb was extremely
> uncommon before the later '60s.  Certainly my mother was the only person I
> ever heard use it - and possibly no more than once - though she alluded to
> _Gaslight_ many times through the years: it was a running joke  (I'm even
> more certain that she never used the forms "gaslit" or "gaslighted"; mostly
> what she said was "Is this _Gaslight_?" or "This is like _Gaslight_!”)

Null hypothesis:  Jon and I had the same mother.  I’m sure there are other more complicated explanations.

LH

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


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