tot mom

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri May 27 00:46:48 UTC 2011

At 4:29 PM -0400 5/26/11, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>Oops! I see that Charlie and I have been commenting on "tot mom" since 2008.
>But here's the observation that means you haven't wasted your time reading
>this: A "tot mom" (is there still only one?) evidently must be accused of
>some wrongdoing for the phrase to make any sense.
>How else would you be expected to know which tot is referred to?
>Is someone in the news a "tot mom" if her child is believed to have been
>harmed by someone else?
>Semantically you could be a tot mom if you're just a mom with a tot, but who
>would use the phrase that way?
>A quick glance at Google reveals no exx. of "*tot dad."  In the world.
>Nothing on *tot granddad" either, though part of Anthony's "kitchen-sink
>defense" is that her father's alleged sexual abuse made her incapable of
>dealing with her tot's purely
>accidental death.
>I'd think the accusation alone would be enough to make him a "*tot
>Anyway, "tot" may be on its way to acquiring the meaning "*tragic [sic]
>small child."
And, given the wonderful flexibility of nominal compounds and the
gradual march of menarche toward earlier childhood, is there any
chance that future "tot moms" will include younger versions of teen
moms?  ("She's not just a teen mom, she's virtually a tot mom".)  Are
you listening, Jerry Springer?


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