ancestor = "descendant"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Mar 2 18:50:42 UTC 2007

>I doubt that _Casablanca_ has much to do with it. The line is
>ironic, but it does not mean "mildly or pleasantly surprised."

True enough.

>   Furthermore, many of the people using the word in that way
>wouldn't be caught dead watching a black and white movie.

Also true, but there are periodic invocations of this line that,
while lost to anyone who hasn't seen the movie, will reinforce the
non-literal (although, as you note, not exactly meiotic) use of
"shocked" to convey something less than actually shocked.  But it's
probably just garden-variety weakening/bleaching.


>FRITZ JUENGLING <juengling_fritz at SALKEIZ.K12.OR.US> wrote:
>   ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Subject: Re: ancestor = "descendant"
>"I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here." I think
>part of that quote, i.e. 'shocked, (shocked)' has now entered mainstream
>use and for many has nothing to do with the movie. To what degree does
>Capt. Renault's agree with the semantic drift, if at all? Maybe the
>phrase has just been used so much that it has just become watered down,
>just like the bland 'awesome' (which now means anything but 'awesome'--I
>was in Best Buy a while back and one of the employees asked if he could
>help me. "No, I'm just browsing" to which he replied 'awesome'. I
>never thought that when I'm suffling thru Cd's it's awesome, but to each
>his own).
>Fritz J
>>>>  wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM 3/1/2007 2:39 PM >>>
>Oh, Barbara, pleease do.
>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
>More of tomorrow's Inglish.
>The American Dialect Society -
>The fish are biting.
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