"the financial equivalent of Hurricane Katrina"

James Harbeck jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA
Thu Nov 20 02:40:21 UTC 2008

I lately received a letter from the president of my graduate alma
mater, Tufts University, which referred to the current economic
crisis as "the financial equivalent of Hurricane Katrina."

Curious as to how common that turn of phrase is, I Googled it. I got
143 hits, though it only displayed 22 (the rest were "very similar").
But all 22 included that exact phrase. While that may not seem like
so many, the odds of a six-word phrase being repeated even once on
the web are quite low. (The seven-word "how common that turn of
phrase is," which seems a natural enough phrase, gets no hits at all,
for instance. The five-word "gets no hits at all" gets 99, of which
only 28 display.)

So this seems to be a meme with some legs. I expect to see it again.

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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