Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Jan 28 15:39:58 UTC 2009

On Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 9:24 AM, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> There's also the question of distribution.  "Some hippie-looking guy" sounds
> 100% normal to me, but "He was kind of hippie-looking" only about 90%.  Same
> for "A lizard-looking alien" vs. "The alien was lizard-looking."

Which speaks to Larry's point upthread that when "hippie" modifies a
noun it tends to be more attributive than adjectival -- "Some hippie
guy" vs. "He was kind of hippie". The OED has some clearly adjectival
exx, like "Imagine coming on so jaded,..so hippie,..and fed up," from
the Village Voice 1959, but this might be a moribund usage. So the
same type of distribution seems to apply to both "N" and "N-looking".

--Ben Zimmer

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

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