pejoration of "stuff?"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu May 24 13:34:27 UTC 2007

At 9:36 AM +0100 5/24/07, Michael Quinion wrote:
>  > My friend Rowyn McDonald and I were sitting in a cafe yesterday when we saw
>>  the a bag of Kettle Chips (potato chips) that said "No Stuff" on the
>>  package, clearly meant as an advertisement.  Sure enough, when we looked at
>>  the back, there was a little bit of explanation, something to the effect of
>>  "No Stuff: No Trans Fats, No Artificial Flavors, Etc."
>As a parallel statement, one of my subscribers found a sign in a British
>supermarket over a shelf of foodstuffs described as "free from foods". (A
>pic is at
For a moment I thought these items would be "free from foods" the way
residence halls and floors in U. S. colleges are identified as
"substance-free" dorms or floors (without, one presumes, assuring
life in a vacuum), i.e. [free [from [X foods]]], but I see now that
what's intended is [[free-from X] foods], where it's the object of
"from" that's suppressed rather than the kind of foods.  Still a
promising innovation.


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