Shill Bidding

Frank Abate Abatefr at CS.COM
Thu Jun 8 19:43:10 UTC 2000

I can't speak for others, but in my lingo I refer to "transparent compounds" (e.g., *big dog*) vs. "idioms" (e.g., *big idea* in "What's the big idea?").  Yes, lexicographers don't enter transparent compounds, and do (try to) enter (in larger dicts, at least) idioms, but it is not always clear-cut when and how to do so.  Some expressions fall into a gray area (what about "big deal" or "big picture"?), and some quite common expressions ("in your dreams"; "duh"; "hel-LO-oo") are certainly lexical in content but somehow seem not to have entered dicts.

There is a distinction made by a French linguist (maybe someone out there knows who) between "idiome" (an idiom) and "idiotisme" (a way in which words are naturally put together according to the rules of the language, if learned and applied conventionally).  The idiomes are the things that dicts enter -- classic example, "kick the bucket".  The idiotismes are what practiced speakers of the language do when they use the syntactic rules of the language conventionally.  So the latter compounds are formally not lexical, though there are always examples where judgment may be needed to decide.  In the case of most dicts, the editorial judgment is usually influenced by the necessary constrictions of schedule and budget.

Frank Abate

American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> wrote:
> 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.
> dInIs
> >-----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
> >business...
> >
> >bkd
> 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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list