-ery (was: cutlery)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 8 04:11:58 UTC 2009

I've heard "cookery" and a random set of other such used in AmE, but
only as of tom-foolery. :-)

Back when, we GI's on leave / on furlough in Holland were much taken
with the productivity of the Dutch cognate, _-erij_. We were moved to
make up pswaydo-Dutch words like "boozerij.


On Mon, Sep 7, 2009 at 6:59 AM, Damien Hall<djh514 at york.ac.uk> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Damien Hall <djh514 at YORK.AC.UK>
> Subject:      -ery (was: cutlery)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks, Mark, for the research! I found that post very interesting. I've
> just two points to make on cutlery itself:
> - K. said she'd never understood 'flatware' as a term for eating utensils,
> since most of them aren't very flat. I once visited Sheffield (still a UK
> centre of steel manufacture and the place whence the best cutlery is
> reputed to come) with some friends, and one of them visited a cutlery
> factory and afterwards brought up this very point. This clearly isn't even
> a direct anecdote, so its value as evidence is shaky at best, but I believe
> that friend said that the factory had said flatware was so called because
> it was made out of flat pieces of metal which were then shaped (once cool).
> This would presumably be to distinguish it from other metal products, in
> whose manufacture the molten metal is poured directly into a non-flat
> mould.
> - I bet Tesco banned the purchase of spoons by minors for exactly the
> reason proposed by another correspondent: that, in their computerised stock
> system, all cutlery was grouped together for accounting purposes, so there
> isn't a separate category for each different utensil; and, thanks to this,
> in order for it to be clear that nothing illegal has been sold, some
> innocuous products are also banned.
> This thread also reminded me that the _-ery_ suffix comes up quite a lot in
> linguistic discussions with American colleagues and my wife (also
> American), because my impression is that it's not common in AmE, whereas it
> _is_ common and even productive in BrE, with the meaning 'actions / a place
> or thing connected with the root meaning'. For the second meaning, _cf_
> _nunnery, _rookery_ and of course _cutlery_; for the first, _cf_ at least
> BrE _cookery_ (AmE _cooking_?), and doubtless many more that don't spring
> to mind at present. It's in this sense that the suffix is at least
> jocularly productive: a friend of mine who's active in the UK political
> party the Liberal Democrats (popularly known as the Lib Dems) used to refer
> to his political activity as _LibDemmery_.
> Damien
> --
> Damien Hall
> University of York
> Department of Language and Linguistic Science
> Heslington
> YO10 5DD
> UK
> Tel. (office) +44 (0)1904 432665
>     (mobile) +44 (0)771 853 5634
> Fax  +44 (0)1904 432673
> http://www.york.ac.uk/res/aiseb/bic2010/
> http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/lang/people/pages/hall.htm
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list