more seat-of-the-pants etymology for our delectation

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Mon Nov 17 18:39:50 UTC 2008

On Nov 17, 2008, at 10:22 AM, Doug Harris wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Doug_Harris <cats22 at STNY.RR.COM>
> Subject:      Re: more seat-of-the-pants etymology for our delectation
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I'm curious why you feel that's a 'trap'. If he )Blount perceives
> something
> sensual in such words, more power to 'em, I say. <smile>
> I imagine that trap _might_ be if he were to assume others for whom he
> might be writing will feel the same sensations (or whatever) when they
> read his, um, turn-on words.
> ----------
> Blount does, however, fall into the trap of thinking that words he's
> fond of -- "queasy", "rickety", "zest", "sluggish", "vim" -- "somehow
> sensuously evoke the essence of the word".

it's clear from his discussion that he thinks that this sensuous
evocation is a property of the words themselves, and should hold for
(almost) everyone (and is not simply a matter of our experience with
uses of the word).


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