"Freedom of stench"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Sep 3 18:29:39 UTC 2009

At 2:14 PM -0400 9/3/09, Bill Palmer wrote:
>Interesting side note...from my recall of Anglo-Saxon,of about 45 years ago,
>"stench" (written then, I think as "stenc") meant any kind of smell or odor,
>not just an unpleasant one.
>One of the professors out there, tell me what is the name for that process
>...when the meaning of a word undergoes a degradation in meaning.

Pejoration, usually.  As also with "smell" (used as a noun or an
intransitive verb), and to some extent "odor".  The opposite, as with
"fragrance", is amelioration.

>Bill Palmer
>From: "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>Sent: Thursday, September 03, 2009 7:23 AM
>Subject: "Freedom of stench"
>>---------------------- Information from the mail
>>header -----------------------
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>>Subject:      "Freedom of stench"
>>A reporter on ABC TV's "Good Morning America" today, noting that the
>>city council had delayed action on the bill described below after
>>constitutional questions had been raised, asked whether there was a
>>"freedom of stench".
>>"Honolulu City Council is considering a bill that would impose up to
>>$500 fine and/or up to 6 months in jail for transit passengers
>>convicted of being too smelly."
>>[KGMB.com, September 1.]
>>Merely 4 Google hits on "freedom of stench" this morning, despite the
>>fact that this news is an immense two days old, none related to the
>>Honolulu bill.
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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