"NOT cheap imitations, but genuine replicas!" [NT]

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu May 13 18:45:00 UTC 2010

At 2:31 PM -0400 5/13/10, Wilson Gray wrote:
>I should have made clear that I was quoting a spam ad for "Rolex"
>watches, in which the distinction, "imitation" vs. "replica," is
>laughably meaningless. What distinguishes between an "imitation" of a
>Rolex and a "replica" of a Rolex?

Price.  The latter is more costly.
Besides "genuine replica" (less obviously oxymoronic than "genuine
imitation"), there's also "exact replica", while "exact imitation"
seems less likely to me.  Contrarily, "pale imitation" seems more
natural than "pale replica".

>In neither case is the watch a
>genuine Rolex. A difference that makes no difference is no difference.

The difference in the naturalness of these collocations, if my
judgments aren't entirely idiosyncratic, suggests that this *is* a
difference that makes a difference and thus isn't no difference.


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

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