tot mom

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 27 01:05:09 UTC 2011

This site

seems to say that Nancy Grace had referred to the "tot grandpa" back in


On Thu, May 26, 2011 at 8:46 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: tot mom
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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
> >granddad."
> >
> >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?
> LH
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