take-home = "(of information) to be remembered"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Dec 14 20:10:17 UTC 2006

Not puzzling, just burgeoning. Most of the OED exx. refer to things you can actually "take home."  As in Watson 1968, the novel usage refers to an intangible memory.

  A "take-home message" (like "take-home advice" or, perhaps, a "bottom-line message") becomes effective as soon as you hear it. And you need to remember it indefinitely.

  If I were an OED editor I would distinguish between the literal and the figurative sense, not least because the figurative seems to have taken a quarter-century after "take-home pay" to appear.


"Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Arnold M. Zwicky"
Subject: Re: take-home = "(of information) to be remembered"

On Dec 14, 2006, at 8:52 AM, Jon Lighter wrote:

> Anchor to guest: "And your take-home message for parents is...?"
> Have noticed this a lot in recent months.

i don't see why you find this puzzling; this is just "take-home",
defined by the OED as
(orig. U.S.), that may be taken away home

the OED has "take-home pay" from 1943, then:
"take-home lesson" (1968, from The Double Helix), entirely
parallel to the example above
"take-home trade" (1973, extended sense 'trade in goods that can
be taken home')
"take-home sales" (1973)
"take-home exam" (1976, but much older than that, since i've been
giving take-home exams, called that, since 1965)


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