Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Jul 25 22:23:59 UTC 2001

>I am amazed by the 56 litcrit quote, which confirms my suspicion
>that it was not just youth culture or slang and around for quote a
>bit (but beneath the level of my radar - better start readin' MLN
>more often).




>  > What's the history of "majorly"? I've seen (and never heard) it only
>>  very recently (and, perhaps mistakenly, associate it with what I
>>  might call (noncondescendingly, I hope) "youth culture." I'm sure
>>  some of word-watchers can let us in on the history of this (which may
>>  be ancient for all I know; my life has been pretty sheltered).
>Here's the OED entry. HDAS has a somewhat different take, and considers
>more of these to be slang, but the idea is there.
>   1. a. Greatly, extremely.
>   1955 Jrnl. Politics 17 II. 274 The absolutism of decalogues and of
>two-foot no effective guide for any majorly changing
>society. 1992 Tucson Weekly 15 Jan. 38/3 Don't worry about all the
>homework you're going to get for staying home or your barfing will
>increase majorly. 1997 Guardian 19 July 5 Doug Doretti, president of
>the company, said last night:
>     b. colloq. (orig. U.S.). As an intensifier, modifying an
>adjective: really, very.
>   1983 Washington Post (Nexis) 27 June, I never feel like crying. It's
>never anything majorly serious. 1988 J. MCINERNEY Story of my Life
>ix. 147 I'm like majorly depressed. 1989 M. DORRIS Broken Cord xi. 189
>There's nothing majorly wrong. 1995 Gazette (Montreal) 22 Jan. F6 It
>was a real bachelor pad, majorly slimy.
>     2. Largely, in the main.
>   1956 Mod. Lang. Notes 71 7 532 Mr. Watkins is quite aware that
>Milton had other sides to his nature and to his thought, but he likes
>to think that he was majorly a poet and, consequently, should be
>judged on his poetry. 1971 N.Y. Law Jrnl. 23 Nov. 4/4 The conclusions
>of the writers, however, are majorly unsupportable, illogical,
>unknowledgeable and inconsistent. 1992 Elle Jan. 84/3 The chronic and
>worsening wrist pain..has been majorly lessened.

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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