"Rate": Britspeak only?

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Thu May 4 13:19:31 UTC 2006

Although Americans use (or used to use) "rate" is a similar
sense:  "The food at this place just doesn't rate."  "You
got invited? You must really rate!"

Perhaps also in that "rate/reckon/value" category is "rank,"
as in the sports-page usage: a "ranked" team, meaning
a 'highly-ranked' team.



>Reminds me of the British usage of "rate" to mean 'to value
>which invariably puzzles Americans (as when Simon Cowell
uses it on
>"American Idol"). OED cites:
>1973 Times 10 Feb. 7/7 You can never be sure of Brazil, of
course, but
>I don't rate the South Americans next time. I believe 1974
will be
>dominated by the Europeans.
>1973 New Society 12 Apr. 64/2 He would like to play cricket
>Surrey, but he doesn't rate his chances.
>1976 E. DUNPHY Only a Game? iv. 104 He's a good honest pro,
>somehow Benny doesn't rate him.
>1977 World of Cricket Monthly June 85/1, I must say we
rated our
>chances going up to Headingley.
>With both "rate" and "reckon", a neutral term of valuation
>reanalyzed in colloquial usage as a positive one. Perhaps
the semantic
>shift is modeled on the double sense of the verb "value".
>--Ben Zimmer

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

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