Shill Bidding

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Thu Jun 8 12:34:46 UTC 2000

This seems to me to be an interesting case of "lexicon" (including
"lexicalized compositions") versus "transparent composition," a difficulty
which surely keeps real lexicographers awake at night. We know what a
"shill" is, and we know what "bidding" is. Therefore, we know what "shill
bidding" is (and it doesn't suprise me that it isn't in a dictionary). For
example, we know what "big" is, and we know what "dog" is. Therefore , we
know what a "big dog" is (and don't find it in the dictionary). I can
already think of lots of objections to that characterization (caricature?),
and I wonder what practicing lexicographers have to say about it these days.

I frankly hadn't thought much about it since I read Zgusta's magnificent
Manual of Lexicography some 25 years ago.


>-----Original Message-----
>From: Bapopik at AOL.COM <Bapopik at AOL.COM>
>Date: Thursday, June 08, 2000 12:24 AM
>Subject: Shill Bidding; The Art of Eating Well
>>   The FBI announced today that it's looking into "shill bidding," or "self
>bidding," on eBay.  That's when friends bid on their own stuff to drive up
>the price.  It's illegal.
>>   The term is not in the online OED.
>On Lovejoy, this was called 'a ring', as in a ring of friends, accomplices,
>cohorts, what have you, who would bid up the price at auction. Of course, I
>have no idea how closely the TV series hewed to the written source, and how
>accurately the books described the dodgy side of the British antique

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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