Gregory {Greg} Downing gd2 at IS2.NYU.EDU
Wed Jun 30 13:11:26 UTC 1999

At 09:34 PM 6/29/99, highbob at wrote:
>So now I have a good way to status myself!

Yeah, we have to in-group ourselves. It never hurts to mover-and-shaker
yourself a little bit. Let's upwardly-mobile ourselves while there's still time.

Speaking of verbs on the move, I saw a quote yesterday about the UK royal
family's shrinking budget. A royal household official, Sir Micheal Peat, was
quoted as saying, "Costs continue to reduce." Except in the sense of "lose
weight" (OED2 reduce v., meaning 26e) or in the sense of "boil down to" ("x
and y reduce to z", meaning 26c), I always had the impression that people
used `decrease' or something like that if they needed an intransitive verb
to express this kind of idea. The only examples of "reduce" in the royal
spokesman's sense are at the end of meaning 26c (citations from 1971, 73,
and 79). So it's not a neologism or (if such things exist) a solecism, but
it is a bit unfamiliar to my US ears. Is this a common UK usage, but not
common in the US?

(I suspect by the way that the first entry at meaning 26c, dated 1811,
really belongs under meaning 26e, only the gap between 1811 and the first
cite for 26e -- 1926 -- led the editors to classify it under the earlier,
broader sense. Or am I wrong on this?)

Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing at or gd2 at

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