rip off

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Fri Jun 4 21:16:34 UTC 2004

Wilson Gray:


I've already been taken to task wrt to my unfortunate habit of failing
to express myself clearly. For that, I must again beg indulgence. I
have no problem whatsoever wrt the sexual reference of "rip off." My
question is, what could have motivated the total *loss* of the sexual
reading and what could have brought it about so quickly, so that I've
heard "rip off" with the sexual reading used in live speech only one
time by one person, despite the ubiquity of the locution? The word
"screw," for example, retains its sexual reading. Even "jazz" retains
its sexual reading. Why not "rip off"? There's probably no answer to
that question, but it never hurts to ask.


what's the basis For assuming that it originally had a sexual reading and
then lost it? isn't it equally likely that what you heard was a one-time
usage or a usage derived from the meaning of 'steal; rob'?

-- Mark Mandel
[This text prepared with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.]

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