Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Thu Jul 26 14:45:23 UTC 2001

> But I think the OED is right in distinguishing the (non-slang)
> "largely, in the main" or as I'd put it "for the most part" sense
> (1c), which the Milton quote exemplifies, and the (slang) intensifier
> sense (1b) that can be paraphrased by "very".  I don't see the MLN
> quote as involving the novel slang/colloquial sense ("majorly
> serious", "majorly depressed") that I was conscious of as "funny"
> when I first heard it in, I assume, the 1980's.  If this is right,
> the "it" in dInIs's sentence doesn't pick out a single referent and
> he can go back to ignoring MLN with a clear conscience.


I wonder what you think of the few examples of 'mostly; primarily'
in HDAS? The treatment there was less than satisfactory, since we
don't really explain why it differs from the 'primarily' that W10
cited to 1956 (which we didn't see, of course). But the HDAS examples
could also be parsed as 'largely, in the main, for the most part',
yet strike me as unquestionably slangy or colloquial, as the Milton
quote does not.

1995 _Real World_ (MTV): I've majorly been hanging out with Mike.

1996 _New Yorker_ (Jan. 15) 27: Majorly, why I got it [sc. a
cellular phone] is if a party gets busted, gotta get outta there.

Jesse Sheidlower

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