"pluperfect hell" -- PS

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Wed Apr 15 23:36:07 UTC 2009

On Apr 15, 2009, at 11:19 AM, Geoffrey Nunberg wrote:

> I just realized the OED has this from 1889. Seems to be jocular
> vestige of an age when everybody learned the word in school. (But that
> was in another country, and besides, the tense is dead.)

that is, "pluperfect" has a fairly long history in the sense
'extreme', an extension from its grammatical sense (and not just in
combination with "hell").  i'd guess -- but i don't know -- that this
sense came first, before the 'fucking' sense in "the pluperfect hell".


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