Shill Bidding

Thomas Paikeday t.paikeday at SYMPATICO.CA
Fri Jun 9 01:56:14 UTC 2000

I wish I could recall some of the Panini sutras (concerning sandhis and samasas)
I learned in high school. Recently, thanks to bibliographic help from Ron
Butters, I studied some of the more modern stuff about noun+noun compounds. This
was in connection with a trademark like Pizza Hut, I think. The point I am trying
to make is that, because we know what a "shill" is and what "bidding" is, it
doesn't necessarily follow that we know what "shill bidding" is; it is not that
transparent. However, from the structure of the compound, we do know that it is a
kind of bidding just as we know that "bidding war" is a kind of war.  As a
practicing lexicographer lying sleepless in Niagara Falls, I would say there
isn't enough room in earthly dictionaries for all nontransparent compounds to be
entered and defined. They have to make the grade based on frequency of occurrence
in the language.

"Dennis R. Preston" 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....

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