"Mc-" prefix, 1963

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu May 24 17:24:37 UTC 2007

On May 24, 2007, at 8:10 AM, Joe Salmons wrote:

> Actually, there's a whole string of humorous, derogatory McYZ names
> out there. Mr. Verb (http://mr-verb.blogspot.com/) had a piece on
> them this morning, shortly before the first message on this topic
> came through...

i mentioned the formula X-y McXerson on Language Log last november:
#5 in


by last august people were already complaining about the formula; from


on 8/25/06, in "Direct Quotes: Phrases That Need To Die:

"[Adjective/Noun]-y Mc[Adjective/Noun]-erson":  Taking one's
attribute in the context of a conversation (for example, calling
someone who drinks a lot "Drinky McDrinkerson") has not yet died.
It's still somewhat cute, but it's damn close to reaching its tipping
point.  It's going to happen, and it's going to happen soon.


i don't know anything about the history of "Drinky McDrinkerson"; in
particular, i don't know if it was the original, and served as the
model for other X-y McXerson formations, or whether another instance
came first.

i'd guess that the X-y McYZ formations are developments from the
simpler X-y McXerson, but i don't actually know anything about the

a simpler type is the McX-y formula.  does this originate with Grey's
Anatomy (with McDreamy and McSteamy, but also the even simpler McX,
as in McVet, which is probably an ameliorated version of the
McDonald's-based McX)?

now, by the way, we have the pairing of McDreamy and McGreasy, in ads
for the movie Sweet Home Alabama, where they refer to the two
principal male characters.

the Urban Dictionary has a pile of Mc examples.


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list