"furling" = unfurling; "heart-rending" = affecting; "aghast" = awestruck

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Dec 7 20:46:52 UTC 2006

Jon, what about the following sense, if one can
make the verb intransitive here?  ("The flag furls in the wind.")

  †3. To make undulations on (a surface); to furrow, wrinkle. Obs.
    1681 J. Chetham Angler's Vade-m. x. §1 (1689)
98 Cloudy and windy day that furls the
Water.  1742 Shenstone Schoolmistr. 261 He+furls
his wrinkly front, and cries, ‘What stuff is
here!’  a1763 I Odes, etc. (1765) 206 Nor bite your lip, nor furl your brow.


At 12/7/2006 03:17 PM, you wrote:
>Back in 1798 someone used "furling" to mean
>"unfurling," and OED caught it for our delectation.
>   Well, they're at it again:
>   2004
> [http://www.asseenontv.com/prod-pages/reagan_se.html
> ] : The Ronald Reagan Silver Dollar takes the
> U.S. Government’s magnificent .999 Pure Silver
> Eagle Dollar, and adds a full-color, official
> portrait of President Reagan in the Oval
> Office. Through NCM's brilliant color artistry,
> a vibrant image of President Reagan stands
> before the American flag and the official
> Presidential flag, above his personal
> signature. On the reverse, the great eagle
> shines through the furling flag, emblazoned
> with his heart-rending words: “What I’d like to
> do is go down in history as the President who
> made Americans believe in themselves again.
>   The Reagan Dollar was heavily advertised on
> TV, possibly in those very words (I
> specifically recall "heart-rending").  A
> current ad for a different silver commemorative
> for a like demographic also misuses "furling."
>   Me, I'd say "waving." But "furling" is like, you know, more flaggy.
>   You've noticed "heart-rending."  It reminds
> me of a full-color religious message I once
> read that reacted to the wonders of creation by
> saying, "We stand aghast!"  That meant "awestruck."
>   JL

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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