LSSU Banished Words list, 2008

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 4 14:00:34 UTC 2008

As are plenty of other idioms. Thanks, I hadn't known that.

m a m

On Jan 3, 2008 4:59 PM, Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at>

> On Jan 3, 2008 2:08 PM, Mark Mandel <thnidu at> wrote:
> A bit further explanation (thanks to Katherine Martin of the OED for
> the research)...
> The idiom "rake (someone) over the coals" started off as the phrasal
> verb "rake over" with "the coals" as its object, roughly meaning 'to
> dredge up something unpleasant from the past'. But along the way it
> got conflated with transitive verbs that could take the PP complement
> "over the coals", as in "haul/call (someone) over the coals". "Rake"
> ended up falling into this pattern, even though when you stop to think
> about it, the resulting idiom is very strange.

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