Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Tue Apr 23 17:15:18 UTC 2002

RHHDAS records "to motor," meaning to go at great speed, to travel very
fast, as in use since 1980, with citations well into the 1990s. "Motor" is
also used to mean to leave, to depart (especially by car), as in "let's
motor" or "I've got to motor." And I've frequently encountered and used
these senses in the wild. These are very different than the original sense
of "motoring" meaning driving in general, which I would agree is moribund.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society
> [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of Mark A Mandel
> Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 9:48 AM
> Subject: motoring
> Speaking of words that have gone to word heaven, Safire includes among
> them "motoring", now supplanted by "driving". There is a current
> billboard for, iirc, the PT Cruiser, bearing at the bottom the motto
> "Let's motor!". Now, the PT series is deliberately retro in
> design, and
> this phrase is tagged on the billboard as a trademark or
> service mark or
> something of the sort. Obviously the advertiser is using the word for
> the very characteristic that brings Safire to call it moribund.
> Nevertheless, this ad campaign must produce some current citations for
> it, and may even kickstart the old engine into rolling over a little
> longer.
> -- Mark A. Mandel
>    Linguist at Large

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