_it_ WRT a person

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 23 02:25:16 UTC 2012

On Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 6:08 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com> wrote:
> Isn't the Rabies article talking about an animal victim?'

I considered that possibility, but, inasmuch as many people do not use
"it" even when speaking of animals and my purpose was merely to see
whether there was any truth to something that I'd read, back in the
'40's, that the usual - in those days, among the polloi - term for
rabies was "hydrophobia" because the disease made people very thirsty,
yet, if they drank, the pain of trying to swallow was so intense that,
afterward, the mere sight of a potable would cause the victim to trip.

Back in the day, no reference was made to the effect of the disease on
animals, beyond the description of "mad" dogs - the "sole" vector of
the disease - as "foaming at the mouth." So, after considering the
possibly that the effect on animals might have been being described, I
dismissed it out of hand. Why would the description of the effect on
animals be of any particular interest? (May the California School of
Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis have mercy on my soul!)

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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