another meaning reversal

Gordon, Matthew J. GordonMJ at MISSOURI.EDU
Sun May 23 01:04:18 UTC 2010

It might be important that in the example that Victor cited it's "so much OF a peep" not "so much as a peep." Thus, it's interpretable as "something that is very peep-like," in other words it was only a peep and nothing louder.

-Matt Gordon

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Laurence Horn [laurence.horn at YALE.EDU]
Sent: Saturday, May 22, 2010 7:47 PM
Subject: Re: another meaning reversal

At 7:51 PM -0400 5/22/10, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>... like "he could care less".

Interesting.  Only three other hits for the hyponegative "with so
much as a peep" (i.e. the positive form with negative meaning), all
in legal/political contexts, compared to 91,400 for "without so much
as a peep".  So (some will say thankfully) no threat yet to the gold
standard of hyponegs, "could care less" or "that'll teach you".


>This from the Volokh Conspiracy blog:
>>Yet in /Graham/, federal law was invalidated with so much of a peep
>>from the SG's office.
>"So much as a peep" is a reference to non-action by the Solicitor
>General, so the usual use I would have expected is "not so much as a peep".
>>There has been not so much as a mention of teh essay on the /Weekly
>>Standard/ or /National Review/ sites; there has been not so much as a
>>peep from AIPAC, which Beinart explicitly attacks.
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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