Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Wed Jan 30 22:37:45 UTC 2008

On Wed, Jan 30, 2008 at 01:53:17PM -0800, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> Not in HDAS either. And why? Because as of 1994 it was considerably less common than one might think.
>   Even today, I find fewer than 50 RG's for "classless  son-of-a-bitch" (note hyphens to elicit solid, hyphenated, and hyphenless forms) and fewer than 1000 for "classless asshole."  Four for "classless motherfucker."
>   None of these constructions shows up even once in Google Books.  Contrast a *quarter of a million* hits for "classy lady" alone.
>   So Bill's usage is easily understandable, and has been for over a century. It just seems not to have occurred to people to use it very often.

I'm getting the impression that I may have overestimated its
popularity in my original message. Apologies. Still, it wouldn't
have given me a second's pause.

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society -

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