pejoration of "stuff?"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu May 24 13:39:11 UTC 2007

At 12:06 AM -0400 5/24/07, James Harbeck wrote:
>We could be looking at a nascent bifurcation such as has happened
>with "substance" -- which has taken on a specific subset meaning in
>some contexts, first from "substance abuse" (the expanded way of
>saying "drug abuse") but also showing up elsewhere:

Sorry I missed this when I just posted about the first (but as it
happens unintended) reading of "free(-)from foods", but it may be
worth distinguishing "substance" in this use from "drug" as in "drug
abuse".  The latter, at least usually, doesn't include alcohol, while
the former--in the context of substance-free
dorms/houses/floors--invariably does.  Oxygen, however, is a
permitted substance, and so (unless we're talking Mormons?) is


>  when I was at
>Tufts in the 1990s, they instituted a "substance-free house" (they
>have assorted special-interest houses, which are student residences
>in three-storey houses -- a friend of mine lived in the Russian
>House). A most charming and amusing image, no? It meant, of course,
>that any substance of the abusable sort was prohibited in the house.
>(I see, on looking at their website, that it no longer exists. Which
>only makes sense, when you think about it -- it was a mirage all
>along anyway.)
>James Harbeck.
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list