ancestor = "descendant"

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Fri Mar 2 13:25:09 UTC 2007

Jonathan's "shocked" in the sense of (positive or neutral) "surprised" reminded me of the old anecdote related to a word battle no longer fought--about an adulterous pedant (variously Samuel Johnson, Noah Webster, or a generic "English professor") whose wife apprehends him in bed with the maid (secretary, grad student). She exclaims, "I am surprised!" He retorts, "No, my dear, I am surprised; you are astonished."


---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 14:39:22 -0800
>From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
>Subject: Re: ancestor = "descendant"
>  BTW, more semanticdrift: newspersons and others are increasingly using "shocked" (which for most of us has strong overtones of disturbance and dismay) to mean "surprised" in neutral or even positive contexts.
>  More of tomorrow's Inglish.
>  JL

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