Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Nov 15 00:19:48 UTC 2012

makes main stream?

Maureen Dowd in the NYTimes, today (Nov 14):

"It is disturbing that an ethically sketchy, politically motivated
F.B.I. agent could spark an incendiary federal investigation
tunneling into private lives to help a woman he liked and later blow
it up to hurt a president he didn't like."

While "sketchy" here might mean simply "flimsy, unsubstantial" --
that is, "ethically-challenged", it could perhaps just as easily mean
"creepy" -- as in an F.B.I. agent who sends a woman he is not married
to a shirtless photograph of himself.


At 11/14/2012 11:23 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>On Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 11:16 AM, Amy West wrote:
> >
> > Heard in the wild last night on the Marketplace story about John McAfee
> > (of antivirus fame):
> >
> > He started carrying around a gun and this "really sketched people out."
> >
> >
> http://www.marketplace.org/topics/tech/web-pioneer-john-mcafee-caught-murder-mystery
> >
> > I've become familiar with the "creepy" sense of "sketchy" because that
> > seems to be the first sense that comes to my students' mind when I use
> > it (while the "vague" sense is what I intend), but now here's a
> > corresponding verb with particle, where "sketch" seems to have replaced
> > "freaked."
>See my 2010 On Language column, "Creeper! Rando! Sketchball!":
>"And just as you can be creeped out by a creepy person, you can be
>sketched out by a sketchy person."
>Ben Zimmer
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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