[Ads-l] _catchier_ "more contagious, more 'catching'"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 11 16:04:38 EST 2021

"More catching" is the phrase my grandparents used. Me too.


On Thu, Feb 11, 2021 at 3:45 PM James Eric Lawson <jel at nventure.com> wrote:

> From a mid-twentieth century upbringing in the upper south US, along the
> Missouri-Illinois border, I had the idea the use of 'catchy' in the
> sense of "contagious" was colloquial, and confined to the US south.
> Later life (later adolescence, youth, mid-life, dotage) in the upper
> Midwest (Chicago, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Chadron) and West (Wyoming,
> Washington coast), including voracious reading, did not disabuse me of
> that notion.
> Online DARE does not record the sense. OED confirms the colloquial part,
> but evidences a much wider range, with a first quote from the Sheffield
> & Rotherham Independent of 1 Jan 1884: "The disease was of so subtle and
> so catchy a nature that when once it had got a hold it was almost
> impossible to stop it." Their next quote is a figurative use from the 3
> Mar 1928 North Adams Transcript (Massachusetts), suggesting use of that
> sense in Massachusetts was well-established even then: "It's a terribly
> catchy disease, is politics, and it leaves its mark for life on the
> victims."
> So, now Cambridge, Massachusetts. Use of the comparative seems
> unremarkable in that context, but I'll gladly eat my words if
> appropriate condiments (BBQ sauce and relish) are provided.
> ----
> Please forgive me if I unwittingly violate some of the unwritten terms
> or conditions of the ADS-L discussion.
> On 2/11/21 8:33 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> > Harvard Gazette sub-head:
> >
> > "Experts urge upgrading to an N95 or doubling up as _catchier_ COVID
> > strains surge in the U.S."
> >
> --
> James Eric Lawson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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