semantic drift: "several" = many

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sun Jun 8 19:00:16 UTC 2008

On Sun, Jun 8, 2008 at 1:54 PM, Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at> wrote:
> The individuated use of "several" is still current in legal language.
> My son had a roommate walk out on his part of a multi-roommate lease,
> and the landlord sued the others for the walk-out's part of the lease.
>  My son's lawyer pointed out to the judge that the lease contained the
> wording "individually and severally" with reference to responsibility
> for payment rather than "jointly and severally."

Or in eggcornified form, "jointly and severely".

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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