Million Dollar Question

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed May 26 18:05:32 UTC 2010

At 1:33 PM -0400 5/26/10, victor steinbok wrote:
>Has anyone ever analyzed the variations in the "That's an/the X Dollar
>Question"? I just heard a reporter say, "That's a hundred billion
>dollar question", in reference to some NYC board approval or
>disapproval of the downtown Islamic Center. I can unequivocally say
>that this is the /largest/ figure I have ever heard associated with
>the phrase. The inflation of the figures in this phrase does sound a
>lot like the evolution of Dr. Evil ransom demands in Austin Powers.
When growing up, I recall becoming aware of the generational
distinction between those (like my parents) for whom that (whatever
that was) was "the $64 question" and those (like myself, in the era
of the eponymous, and later infamous, TV quiz show) for whom that was
"the $64,000 question".  Talk about inflation!


The American Dialect Society -

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