Short take: "smiley face" - OED WOTD

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Mon May 10 12:37:01 UTC 2010

>Date:    Sun, 9 May 2010 23:13:15 -0400
>From:    victor steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
>Subject: Re: Short take: "smiley face" - OED WOTD
>What would be the reason not to have a "smiley face" as a "special
>compound", as the OED seems to file them, back in 1957? Does it have
>to be trademarked to be "special"? More importantly, how is the 1968
>one different from 1957? Even if one reproduces a famous design and
>the other does not, the actual usage is similar. Remember, the phrase
>"smiley face" was not trademark--just the black-and-yellow design.

Because I have no hesitation in making a fool out of myself on the
list, and annoying folks at the same time (sorry!), I'd argue that
the physical context of the 1957 mop greeter is not as abstract as
the 1968 craft one. The face is being made on that mop greeter in
1957 in order to complete a physical representation -- hair, torso,
etc. That 1968 one has just the face being put on a box. I think
that's a significant difference.

(I admit to splitting tendencies, as opposed to lumping tendencies,
when I worked as a definer.)

---Amy West

The American Dialect Society -

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