by law = 'inevitably; naturally'

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Dec 16 14:44:54 UTC 2012

On Dec 16, 2012, at 7:50 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> The father of one of the children killed in Connecticut tells CNN that his
> children "were born within three years of one another, so by law they were
> very close."
> JL

No, we just have some very odd laws on the books here.  Maybe now that the blue laws banning the sale of alcohol in stores on the Lord's day* have been overturned, the legislators can get around to the one invoked above.


*Writing after the repeal of the blue laws last May, a trade organization for liquor stores celebrates the decision as follows:
No longer will an unexpectedly zealous Saturday night force us to brave the headlong fall of a Sunday morning without benefit of a mimosa's golden parachute. We have arrived at the end of those dark days when the tyranny of outdated laws decide the success or failure an afternoon NFL party. Verily I say to thee: we have been freed from the cruel japes of the other 48 states, and can instead join them in their mockery of Indiana, the 18th century's last holdout.

An unexpectedly zealous Saturday night, you may ask?  Yes, zeal makes itself felt in idiosyncratic ways here too.  After all, this is "the land of steady habits".

The American Dialect Society -

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