"fiend": in anyone's active vocab?

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Thu Nov 10 01:11:38 UTC 2005

On Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 07:39:42PM -0500, Laurence Horn wrote:
> >I think "fiend" is one of a group of words largely restricted to headlines,
> >largely because of brevity or conciseness.There are others. For example: I
> >don't think I ever use the verb "wed", and I seldom if ever hear it in
> >conversation, although I see and understand it in the headlines.
> >
> and the verb "nix".

And the noun _slay_.

In any case, with most of these examples, while I might not use
these myself, I can see them used without too much problem--"Oh,
that's headline language," or even "that's hyperbolic headline
language." With this _fiend,_ I just giggle.

Perhaps that means that in some way _fiend_ isn't even in my
passive vocabulary.

But this must to some extent be idiosyncratic--surely there
must be many _N.Y. Post_ readers who recoil in horror from the
thought of this fiend's lair [the hotel he stayed in after
the alleged attack], just as there must be many Americans who
say, "Oh my goodness, evildoers! We must be on guard!", or W
wouldn't keep saying it.

Jesse Sheidlower

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