[Ads-l] For want of an apostrophe ... [correction to the OED]

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Mar 27 10:03:00 EDT 2017


Not related to the acronymic MOB I’ve recently learned (being an FOB myself):  Mother of the Bride.  I guess that _mob_, n. 1 ('wench, a slattern; a promiscuous woman; a prostitute’) entry shows the utility of preserving the capitalization for the acronym, although it does give an extra-piquant edge to the “MOB DRESS" departments in the bridal shops, even if the unrelated clipped sense of “mob” (OED n. 2) would be a more likely misreading.  

LH

> On Mar 27, 2017, at 5:51 AM, Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM> wrote:
> 
> Not quite a hanging matter, but the absence of an apostrophe causes the OED to
> provide a false citation for MOB, n1, "†2. A loose informal garment for a woman;
> = dishabille n. 2. Also mob-dress. Obs."
> 
> The problem with this entry is the first citation.  This reads, as the OED gives
> it:
> 
> "1665 R. Head Eng. Rogue I. sig. F5v, Their Mobs, Scarfs, and Hoods all rent."
> 
> Here, the OED helpfully (?) provides us with two commas not present in the
> original, while coyly omitting an apostrophe which would have allowed for the
> proper sense of the words quoted.
> 
> A fuller (and more accurate) transcription of the passage from Head would read
> as below, where it is apparent from the context that the Mobs, female companions
> of the men, have their Scarfs and Hoods torn. [N]  If re-punctuation of the
> original is to be perpetrated, a more correct version would read, "Their Mobs'
> Scarfs and Hoods all rent."  
> 
> Head's original text (p. 111 -- the OED's location of the text via foliation
> rather than page number here seems to be not simply unnecessarily pedantic but
> actually unhelpful):
> 
> "Some of the men were all bloody, and their Mobs Scarfs and Hoods all rent, and
> none of them sober: ..."
> 
> Robin Hamilton
> 
> [N]   A correct location of the Head citation would place it in the OED, at MOB,
> n1: 1. A wench, a slattern; a promiscuous woman; a prostitute.
> 
> R.
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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