semantic shift: "shrapnel"

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Tue Jan 19 01:45:49 UTC 2010

>>>Next up: calling your rifle a "gun."
> A notorious no-no. But ask the average, non-firearm-savvy speaker what
> his/her usage is.  Ya can't stop them, I tells ya!
> JL

Um..  I'm not sure on this one.  Isn't there (I haven't checked this) a
legitimate usage in which "gun" could be a generic term for any firearm,
including a rifle?

The confusion surely is less between guns and rifles than between (smooth
bore) muskets and rifles?  Not something we Brits are liable to forget, as
it was one of the factors that allowed you all to stop paying uz yins taxes.

Now of course, thanks to Bernard Cornwall and TV versions of his books, no
one in the UK would ever think of saying "Sharpe's Guns".

Robin (rowing, not sailing, his boat ashore)

The American Dialect Society -

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