move over, "sleptwalked"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jun 8 18:07:27 UTC 2008

On Sun, Jun 8, 2008 at 10:01 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      move over, "sleptwalked"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> We've discussed the double preterit "sleptwalked" as a past tense of
> "sleepwalk" (2010 google hits, compared to 48,700 for the standard
> "sleepwalked").  We don't have too many other candidates for this
> doubly-conjugated or doubly-declined status

_locus classicus: Lat. "res publica"; accusative "rem publicam", genitive
"rei publicae", etc._

How is it known that the Romans truly considered "res publica" to be a
single lexical item?


> but here's one from *my subscription copy* of today's Times,
> first page of the SportsSunday section, reporting on a horse race
> yesterday that received some attention:
> ==============
> So when Kent Desormeaux approached the final turn and asked Big Brown
> to engage those booster rockets that had slungshot him to victory in
> the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, a hot and sweaty crowd
> of 94,476 stood and roared, anticipating that he would swoosh past
> the grandstand and into immortality.
> ==============
> Now if you check the online version of the article, at
> you'll find that _slungshot_ has been "corrected", so the passage now
> refers to "those booster rockets that had slingshotted him to
> victory".  The author of the piece is the celebrated Times racing
> reporter and author of the recently well received book _To the Swift:
> Classical Triple Crown Horses and Their Race for Glory_ (whose
> paperback version will not require an appendix on Big Brown).
> I tried googling "slungshot" but the first few pages of hits involve
> an alternate form of the noun rather than the past tensed verb.  But
> just what is that verb, anyway?  Is it in fact "slingshoot" (a la
> "sleepwalk"), which itself would involve a back-formation of
> "slingshot"? Hard to tell, and once again most occurrences seem to
> involve yet another variant of the *noun*, not the verb.  I'd guess
> (and whoever post-edited Drape's piece for the online edition must
> have as well) that the standard form of the verb is taken to be
> "slingshot", as a zero-formation, rather than "slingshoot"; the OED
> concurs.  There's even a cite that employs a racing metaphor,
> although involving cars rather than horses:
> ==============
> 1969 Daily Progress (Charlottesville, Va.) 5 July 6/4 'I could stay
> with him in a draft (the two cars running one behind the other).'..
> Yarborough said he purposely gave Baker two chances to slingshot past
> to learn if he was fast enough.
> ==============
> So while my first take on Drape's "slungshot" was to take it as a
> double preterit of "slingshoot", the evidence is murky.
> LH
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